Biden taps former Obama defense policy chief as Army secretary

DOD photo by Senior Airman Perry Aston  11th Wing Public Affairs 

The White House announced its plan to nominate Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon’s former top policy official, to be the first woman as Army secretary.

Wormuth led the Biden-Harris defense agency review and was previously under secretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration from 2014 to 2016. She’s now the director of the RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center.

Wormuth, who has also served as senior director for defense policy on the National Security Council, is the first cabinet nomination for the military services for the Biden administration. If confirmed, she would be the Army’s first female secretary.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) offered support for Wormuth’s nomination, saying it further demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. He said that if confirmed, Wormuth would help civilian-military relations.

“At a time when our civil–military relations have grown strained, I am glad that President Biden has chosen a civilian public servant like Christine, who has deep national security experience in the Department of Defense and National Security Council, to lead one of the service branches,” Smith said in a statement.

“Our armed forces face myriad challenges, and Christine Wormuth’s experience and service will be a boon to the Department of Defense.”

The White House also announced plans to nominate former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), to be under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Susanna Blume to be the head of DOD’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office.

Cisneros, who served on the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, also founded The George Washington University’s Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute and has been an advocate for improving military housing and the services’ efforts to address mental health, child abuse and sexual harassment issues.

Blume is now the acting director for CAPE, which analyzes resource allocation and cost estimation on military capabilities for the defense secretary. The former director for the Center for a New American Security’s defense program has had several roles in the office of the secretary of defense, including a stint as the deputy chief of staff for programs and plans.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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