Deputy, Under & Assistant Secretary
United States Executive Department


How to Address a Deputy Secretary
How to Address a Under Secretary
How to Address a Assistant Secretary
of a US Executive Department

How to Address a Deputy Secretary How to Address an under secretary how to address an assistant secretary

How do I Address an Assistant or Deputy Secretary?

Tomorrow, the Assistant Secretary of Transportation is visiting us. He’s obviously in writing he is the Honorable (Full Name).  How do I address him in conversation?
——–Mr. Secretary
—-—-Secretary (Name)
—-—-Assistant Secretary (Name)
—-—-Mr. (Name)
—-—-—-—-– Susan in Aerospace

Do I use Mr./Madam Secretary, Deputy (Surname) or Mr./Ms./Dr. (Surname)
—-—-—-—-– Josh

Dear Susan & Josh:
Deputy, under, or assistant secretaries are never Mr./Madam Secretary or Secretary (Name). These forms of address are reserved for THE Secretary – their boss.

These forms are correct for an deputy, undersecretary, or assistant secretary.

—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)

—-In a letter’s address block with the office:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-(Name of Office)

—-In a formal salutation or in conversation use:
—-—-Mr./Ms./Dr. (Name) *

* Orally you will hear their job titles used as an honorific to emphasize or clarify his/her job an interaction. For example, you could orally say ‘Deputy Secretary (Name) will be here in five minutes.’ or ‘The Secretary of (department) cannot attend. You will be greeted by Deputy Secretary (Name)’.

—-And the media will frequently use the job before the name to clarify to their readers/viewers who this person is: ‘According to Under Secretary of State (Name) …’. They may even call the person Under Secretary (Name) during an interview.

—-But traditionally and formally their job title not is used in writing as an honorific, in a salutation, or in conversation.

—-And they definitely are not Mr./Madam Secretary or Secretary (Name).

– Robert Hickey

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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