Photo of Deborah S. Skillman

Deborah S. Skillman

Director, Casualty, Mortuary Affairs and Military Funeral Honors

Deborah S. Skillman assumed the duties of director of the Office of Casualty, Mortuary Affairs and Military Funeral Honors for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness through Military Community and Family Policy on Nov. 5, 2012. As director, Ms. Skillman is the senior advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy on all matters related to casualty, mortuary affairs and military funeral honors across the services.

Prior to joining the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness through Military Community and Family Policy, Ms. Skillman culminated a 31-year Army career, retiring Nov. 1, 2012, as a colonel from the Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, Fort Knox, Kentucky. As chief of the Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Branch, she was responsible for directing and providing regulatory guidance regarding the Army’s Casualty and Mortuary Affairs programs worldwide.

She monitored and managed casualty notification, disposition of remains and movement of personal effects from the home station and theater of operations. She served as liaison with other agencies, including sister-service casualty and mortuary affairs offices, Armed Forces Medical Examiner, United States Transportation Command, Dover Port Mortuary, Office of the Chief Legislative Liaison, General Officer Management Office, White House Military Office and Casualty Assistance Centers. She also managed the implementation of the Army’s Fatal Accident Program and served as the final approval authority for the Army’s Line of Duty Program.

Ms. Skillman began her military career in the Simultaneous Membership Program in the Virginia National Guard while attending Virginia Tech. After graduating, she received her commission as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps. She held a variety of command and staff positions during her 31 years of service, including platoon leader and shop officer, 4th Main Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas; maintenance officer, 21st Theater Army Area Command, Kaiserslautern, Germany; commander, Equipment Support Center– Mannheim, 51st Maintenance Battalion, Mannheim, Germany; and maintenance officer, G-4, Army Central Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia.

Ms. Skillman also served as the S-4, Army Training and Security–Kuwait; headquarters commandant, Joint Task Force–Kuwait; and deputy chief, Mortuary Affairs and Casualty Support, Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Virginia. In addition, she served as commander, Joint Personal Effects Depot, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Ms. Skillman is the recipient of awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Ms. Skillman is a 1983 graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Her military education includes Ordnance Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Combined Arms Services and Staff School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Associates Logistics Executive Development Course.

The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy is directly responsible for programs and policies, which establish and support community quality-of-life programs for service members and their families worldwide. This office also serves as the focal point for coordination for a broad range of quality-of-life issues within the Department of Defense.