Secretary Mark J. Belton was officially sworn in by Governor Larry Hogan this afternoon as the 9th Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Natural Resources. Belton was confirmed by the Maryland State Senate on March 20.
“As Maryland’s new natural resources secretary, I’m honored by the trust Governor Hogan has placed in me, and I thank the members of the Senate for voting to confirm my nomination,” said Belton. “I look forward to working together with our DNR employees and the citizens of Maryland to restore, protect, and conserve our natural and living resources.”
Belton will lead an agency of more than 1,300 employees. His priorities include an emphasis on transparency, stewardship, sound science, diversity, agility and collaboration.
A familiar face to many at DNR, Belton served as assistant secretary from 2003 to 2005 overseeing the Natural Resources Police and the agency’s mission support functions, including the human resources, finance and administration, licensing and regulation, office of fair practices and internal audits.
Belton has held a variety of state and local government leadership positions including executive director, Pride of Baltimore, Inc. and county administrator of Queen Anne’s County, Charles County, and Page County in Virginia.
A former Navy Rear Admiral, Belton served his country for 31 years before retiring in 2014. Belton served on active duty for more than seven years, and spent the remainder of his naval career in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was recalled to active duty twice, the first time to Kosovo in 2001 and the second to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2009 as the senior force representative to the Iraqi Ministries of Oil and Electricity. When he retired, he was serving as deputy commander, Naval Supply Systems Command.
During his tenure with the Navy he received three Legions of Merit, five Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Commendation Medal, seven Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Belton graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1983. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Regis University; graduated from the United States Naval War College, College of Distance Education; as well as, the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education program at the Joint Forces Staff College. He lives in Charles County.