Dirk Selland

Dirk Selland

Chair, LGBT Advisory Council


Judge R. Dirk Selland’s extensive experience in management with the Office of General Counsel (OGC), Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), a national non-profit LGBT organization, and as a Naval Officer, provides valuable insight into what it takes to be a dynamic leader in today’s Social Security Administration.

Though born and raised in Maryland, Judge Selland accepted a full Navy ROTC scholarship to attend North Carolina State University where he graduated with a BA in Political Science.  Upon graduation, he was commissioned an officer in the US Navy and was stationed from Georgia to Connecticut serving on submarines most of the time. 

As some of you may recall, Dirk was the Naval Officer who was removed from the nuclear submarine, USS Hammerhead, the day after Clinton was sworn in as President simply for telling his squadron chaplain and commanding officer that he was gay.  He would later go on and serve openly gay for over four years thanks to Court orders (longest tenure of a naval officer serving openly gay) before his struggle would end with the case at the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Once discharged from the Navy, Judge Selland went back to Maryland where he graduated from law school cum laude.  He first served in SSA as a litigating attorney in OGC.  Here, he was responsible for defending the Agency’s disability decisions before various federal courts. He was instrumental in creating and developing OGC’s first mentoring program and national training program where he was both a moderator and presenter for several of the topics broadcasted through Interactive Video Technology. Judge Selland then transferred to the Office of General Law in Headquarters where he represented management before the EEOC and MSPB.  He left SSA’s HQ to assume a Supervisory Attorney position in San Francisco and then served as the Agency’s Deputy Regional Chief Counsel in New York.  Dirk left the Big Apple to serve as a United States Administrative Law Judge in the Atlanta North Hearing Office for SSA and later served as their Chief Judge.  He then moved to the Regional Office where he served as the Deputy Regional Chief ALJ for Region IV before taking on the role as Chief Judge of SSA’s Baltimore Hearing Office.  He currently serves as the Acting Chief Judge for the largest Hearing Office in Region IV – the Tampa Hearing Office.