The Dam Breaks At Defense. Six Top Level Defense Officials Nominated.

The Dam Breaks At Defense. Six Top Level Defense Officials Nominated.
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2017 file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stands outside the Pentagon. The White House announced nominees for senior Pentagon jobs on Thursday, March 16, 2017, including a longtime Boeing Co. executive for deputy secretary of defense, in its most significant step toward surrounding Mattis with Trump administration picks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

I posted just a little earlier today on the the seeming stalemate developing between Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the White House over senior staff appointments in the Pentagon. These positions are critical if the administration is going to move its agenda forward because fourteen of the top fifteen positions in Defense are still occupied by officials appointed by Obama.

My colleague Susan Wright caught the breaking story of defense industry executive Patrick Shanahan getting the nod to be deputy secretary of defense. Close on his heels there were others.

This is what we have:

David Joel Trachtenberg to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. Trachtenberg was a House Armed Services Committee staffer and a worked in the same shop he’s taking over during the Bush administration. He believes Russia is untrustworthy and that our nuclear arsenal is flabby and aging.

David Norquist to be undersecretary of defense (controller) and chief financial office. Brother of Grover Norquist. He’s a partner with an accounting firm that has a 100% federal government practice. He was CFO of the Department of Homeland Security.

Elaine McCusker to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense (controller). She’s a career civil servant. She is currently the director of resources and analysis, essentially the controller, of US Central Command. She worked with Mattis when he was CENTCOM commander. She was also on the professional staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Kenneth Rapuano to be assistant secretary of defense, homeland defense and global security. Rapuano is a former Marine officer with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan to his credit. He served on George Bush’s national security council and in counter-terrorism positions in the Department of Energy.

Robert Daigle

to be the director of the office of cost assessment and program evaluation (CAPE). Don’t laugh at the name. This office drives the train on what the services will look like in terms of force structure and equipment. He’s currently a professional staffer at the House Armed Services Committee and served in a leadership position in this office during the Bush administration.

Overall some strong choices. Everyone has Hill experience which is critical. Other than McCusker they are generic out of the box Republicans. They have solid experience in the areas they are going to. Mattis got one of his people. There are no overtly pro-Trump faces in the group. On the whole you’d have to say Mattis won this.

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