At a Glance
- Career History: Senior research scholar at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (2006-2009); several positions at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California (1990-2006), including director of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (2002-2006)
- Birthday: August 1954
- Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
- Alma Mater: Dartmouth College, B.A. in government, 1976; Harvard University, Ph.D. in Government, 1986
- Spouse: Missy Stockton
- Office: 1400 Defense Pentagon, Washington DC 20301
- Web site
Path to Power
A native of Los Angeles, Stockton headed East to launch his academic career, attending Dartmouth College, where he studied government and graduated summa cum laude in 1976. A bachelor's degree was not enough for the intellectually-inclined Stockton, however, so he went on to get his doctorate in government from Harvard University. While studying at Harvard, he served as a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
Upon graduation in 1986, Stockton made his first foray into politics, becoming legislative assistant to the late Sen. Moynihan. He was Moynihan's personal representative to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and advised the four-time senator on defense, intelligence, and counter-narcotics policy. After three years his native California beckoned, and Stockton returned home to academia.
Though an expert on homeland security, Stockton's job actually focuses on homeland defense, a subtle distinction. Homeland defense falls under the purview of the Defense Department, and provides military protection of U.S. territory, domestic population, and defense infrastructure against external aggressions. Homeland security, on the other hand, falls under the Department of Homeland Security, and focuses specifically on preventing terrorist attacks and reducing America's vulnerability to them.
Stockton, who succeeds Paul McHale as only the second person in the Pentagon's homeland defense post, describes the two concepts as "complementary and mutually-supporting."
At his Senate confirmation hearing in May 2009, Stockton expressed special gratitude to two Washington figures, now both deceased: Sen. Moynihan, who he said gave him his real education in government, and Lacy Suiter, a top FEMA executive and emergency-management leader.
In his current post, Stockton works as part of a team led by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and her deputy, James Miller. Stockton's fellow assistant secretaries of defense in the division include Alexander Vershbow, for international security affairs; Michael Nacht, for global strategic affairs; and Michael Vickers, for special operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities.
Stockton put his support behind Obama with a $250 contribution to his presidential campaign in September 2008. He previously contributed to the campaigns of two other Democrats: Obama Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, with $250 in 2006 for his failed presidential bid, and Rep. Sam Farr of California, with $200 in 2003.