Effective January 1, 2019, Charles E. Summers, Jr. assumed responsibilities as the Acting Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
In his permanent capacity, Mr. Summers serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense in the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. In this role, he is responsible for the formulation of strategies regarding the release of information to the public news and media as well as overseeing and coordinating the efforts of the office in order to ensure the staff is able to execute their portfolios.
Prior to his appointment into the Senior Executive Service, Mr. Summers has served in various elected and appointed positions in state and federal government. In 1990, he was elected to the Maine State Senate and re-elected in 1992. During his Senate service, he served as the Ranking Member on the Joint Standing Committees on Legal Affairs, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Taxation. From 1995 to 2004, he served as State Director to United States Senator Olympia J. Snowe and from 2005 to 2007 served in President George W. Bush’s administration as New England Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. In January 2011, he was elected by the 125th Legislature to serve as Maine's 48th Secretary of State for a term ending in January 2013. As Secretary of State, he was responsible for an agency with more than 450 employees and an annual budget in excess of $130 million. In July 2016, he assumed the role of Executive Director of Veterans Count in northern New England. In this capacity, he oversaw veteran services programs and development efforts throughout the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Mr. Summers also serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the United States Navy Reserve currently holding the rank of Captain. Commissioned in 1996, his first duty assignment was with Navy Office of Information-Boston. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he was called to active duty and served on the staff of Secretary of the Navy Gordon England. In July 2007, he was recalled to active duty and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From October 2009 to October 2010, he served on active duty on the staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. During this time, he completed a temporary assignment as a member of Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan. From February 2014 to July 2016, he again served on active duty as Director of Public Affairs for Vice Admiral Robin R. Braun, Chief of the Navy Reserve. Currently, he is the Commanding Officer of Naval Reserve Naval Information U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet. His military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards), U.S. Army Combat Action Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and various other service awards.
Born in Danville, Illinois in 1959, he grew up in his family’s hotel business and later managed motels in Bangor and South Portland, Maine, and has owned and run his own small businesses. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.S.) and Black Hawk College-East (A.A.).