Obama announces 3 key DoD nominations

President Barack Obama announced a slate of nominees for administration posts, including three in key Defense Department positions. They include nominees for the Pentagon’s personnel and policy chiefs and its chief weapons buyer.

Erin Conaton

Undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness

Obama nominated Erin Conaton to serve as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Conaton has served as the undersecretary of the Air Force since 2010. She previously served on the House Armed Services Committee for nearly 10 years, rising to the position of staff director.

Former DoD personnel chief Clifford Stanley stepped down from that post in late October, amid an investigation into complaints that he wasted money and was abusive to staff. Stanley’s deputy, Jo Ann Rooney, has been leading the office on an interim basis since he resigned.

Undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics

Frank Kendall

Obama nominated Frank Kendall to be undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Kendall has been serving as the office’s acting undersecretary since Ashton Carter vacated the post to become deputy defense secretary.

Kendall previously served as Carter’s principal deputy, a position Obama appointed him to in March 2010. Before returning to DoD, Kendall was a managing partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, a defense consultancy, and the vice president for engineering at Raytheon. He held a number of positions at the Pentagon throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Undersecretary of defense for policy

James Miller, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, has been nominated to step up to the undersecretary position, now held by Michele Flournoy, DoD’s first female policy chief. Late last year, she announced she planned to step down next month.

James Miller

Miller, who has served as Flournoy’s deputy since 2009. Prior to his current role, he was the senior vice president and director of studies at the defense think tank, the Center for a New American Security. He also served a stint as deputy assistant defense secretary for requirements, plans and counterproliferation policy in the latter half of the Clinton administration.

Overall, Obama announced 13 nominations Monday evening. The president’s picks must be confirmed by the Senate.


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