Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy
Will Ball served as Chairman of The Asia Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 2002-2008. He has held a number of senior positions in both the public and private sectors in a career that has spanned over thirty years in the nation’s capital. His experience in the Reagan Administration included serving as Secretary of the Navy in 1988-1989, an appointment preceded by senior positions on the White House staff and at the Department of State.
Ball began his government service in Washington, DC in 1975 on the U.S. Senate staff following completion of a six-year tour of active duty with the United States Navy. For ten years, he served in several committee and staff positions, which led to his appointment as Chief of Staff to Senators John Tower (R-TX) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA).
In 1985, he joined the Reagan Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Secretary of State George P. Shultz. The following year, Ball was assigned to the White House to serve President Reagan as his chief liaison to the Congress. Two years later, he was nominated by the President as the 67th Secretary of the Navy and was confirmed by the Senate in March of 1988.
During the first Bush Administration, Ball was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve as a member of the 1991 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRACC), the third appointment for which he was confirmed by the Senate in his government career. Most recently, he was appointed in 2005 by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to serve as a member of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, which was established by Congress to address major issues affecting the Guard and Reserve components.
Ball was for 15 years President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Beverage Association and the National Soft Drink Association representing companies that produce, market and distribute soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages in North America and around the world. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Maine Maritime Academy and a Director of the Naval Historical Foundation at the Washington Navy Yard.
Ball was born and raised in South Carolina and is a 1969 graduate of Georgia Tech. He holds honorary degrees from Furman University and the College of Charleston.