Southgate takes over from Stuart Pearce whose contract was not renewed after England's dismal performance at this summer's European Championships.
Southgate earned 57 caps as an England player and has worked with the FA before as their head of elite development from January 2011 until July 2012.
His only management job was with Middlesbrough from 2006 until 2009.
"I'm delighted to get this role and extremely excited about the prospect of working with the best and brightest young players in the country," said Southgate.
“I'm a proud Englishman and playing for my country was the pinnacle of my playing career. Since retiring as a player I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience of the game both here and abroad, and I'm eager to play my part in preparing players to compete at the highest level.
"Whenever any team steps onto the pitch for England, being successful is of huge importance, but it is also about developing a clear style of play that can allow our talented young players to flourish.”