FCWInsider

Blog archive

Trump taps former NASA administrator to head DOD tech research

Michael D. Griffin - USD R&E NASA

The White House announced on Dec. 4 that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Michael Griffin to be under secretary of defense for research and engineering -- a new position that stems from the reorganization of the Pentagon's acquisition, technology and logistics organization.

Griffin served as NASA administrator under President George W. Bush, and also did a stint as president and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, the non-profit venture capital firm created and funded by the CIA.

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act instructed the Department of Defense to break up AT&L and replace that under secretary position with two new ones -- Griffin's under secretary for research and engineering post, and an under secretary for acquisition and sustainment. Current Undersecretary for AT&L Ellen Lord is expected to transition into the acquisition and sustainment job.

An August report from the Pentagon on DOD's plans for implementing these changes said that establishing the R&E structure "is the first priority of implementing the new organization." As under secretary for R&E, Griffin would oversee both the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. And according the DOD report, he would play the CTO role for the department and have "responsibility and authority for ensuring U.S. military technical superiority." 

The division of AT&L is a significant and somewhat controversial change for DOD. Griffin, however, is no stranger to institutional reorgs. At NASA, for example, he drove the creation of the chief operating officer position, separating those responsibilities from those of the deputy administrator.

According the White House, Griffin's nomination will become effective on Feb. 1, 2018 -- the deadline for the DOD to formalize its new structure.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 05, 2017 at 5:58 AM


Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.