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Ruth Vetter

Deputy General Counsel & Deputy General Counsel, Personnel & Health Policy

Ruth Semonian Vetter is the Deputy General Counsel for Personnel and Health Policy in the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Defense. As Deputy General Counsel, Ms. Vetter serves as the primary legal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Performance Improvement Officer and Director of Administration & Management on all matters pertaining to the management of the Department and its personnel. Also in this role, Ms. Vetter supervises the Directors of the Standards of Conduct Office and the Office of Legal Policy; the General Counsels of the White House Military Office, Defense Health Agency, DoD Education Activity, Washington Headquarters Service, Defense Commissary Agency, DoD Human Resources Activity, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, National Defense University; and the Chief Defense Counsel, Military Commissions Defense Organization.

Ms. Vetter was previously the General Counsel of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), where she led a team of over 180 legal professionals providing full service legal support to the nation’s combat support logistics agency with more than 26,000 employees worldwide and $42B in annual procurement of goods and services.

Prior to her role as the General Counsel for DLA, Ms. Vetter served as interim Vice President, Ethics for the Boeing Company. In this role, she also served as the Chair of the Defense Industry Initiative Executive Working Group and as a member of the steering committee for the International Forum on Ethical Business Conduct. From 2018 to 2020, Ms. Vetter served as Senior Director, Ethics & Business Conduct for Boeing International and Government Operations as well as Boeing Defense, Space & Security and managed the enterprise anti-corruption program.

Selected as a member of the Senior Executive Service in 2015, Ms. Vetter was appointed as Director of the DoD Standards of Conduct Office. In this role, she advised the Secretary of Defense and other Office of Secretary of Defense senior officials on government ethics matters. She also oversaw the ethics and standards of conduct programs throughout DoD, which included training of DoD’s 3,000+ ethics counselors, and she managed the ethics vetting of DoD’s Presidentially- appointed, Senate-confirmed officials, working closely with the White House, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Office of Government Ethics.

Prior to becoming the Director of the Standards of Conduct Office, Ms. Vetter served in several leadership roles in the DLA Office of General Counsel, including as the Associate General Counsel for Personal and Ethics, Chief Counsel of Overseas Operations, and the lead for the Administrative and International Law Division.

In 2012, Mrs. Vetter was detailed to the Office of the White House Counsel, where she was a Deputy Designated Agency Ethics Official for the White House. In this position, she led the ethics vetting process for Presidentially-appointed nominees and managed the financial disclosure program for the Administration’s senior officials.

Ms. Vetter began her career as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army in 2000, serving in diverse assignments of increasing responsibility across the globe with deployments to Iraq and the Balkans. Her roles included serving as a federal prosecutor and representing the government in tort and personnel litigation; advising on international and operational law matters in deployed settings; and running an expansive ethics and compliance program.

Ms. Vetter’s civilian awards include the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Service, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and the Superior Civilian Service Award. Her military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the NATO medal, and the Korean Service Medal.

Ms. Vetter received a B.A. in political science from Taylor University and a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law–Indianapolis. She is a graduate of the National Security Studies program at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, and the Federal Executive Institute.