Harker will perform DoD comptroller duties as McCusker exits

Thomas Harker will be running the Defense Department’s finances until the president picks a new nominee to watch over the military’s funds.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman announced on Twitter Friday that Harker would take over as “the individual performing the duties” of DoD comptroller after Elaine McCusker, another temporary comptroller, left the position on June 26.

It took DoD one week before it announced her replacement.

The top finance position hasn’t been held by a Senate-confirmed official for almost a year, since David Norquist, the current deputy defense secretary, held the role.

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Harker is currently the assistant Navy secretary for financial management and comptroller. He will hold that position in tandem with the DoD-wide spot.

Harker is a 20 year veteran of the Coast Guard, and also worked at the Office of Management and Budget. He previously served as acting principal deputy assistant secretary for management at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and as the acting deputy chief financial officer for accounting and financial management at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Pentagon has a serious dearth of confirmed officials in its top offices. There are soon to be 19 Senate-confirmable positions that are not filled or have people serving in the acting capacity.

McCusker stepped down in June in the aftermath of being nominated by President Trump for the comptroller position, only to have that nomination revoked.

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The nomination pull came after public reporting indicated she had pushed back against the White House’s attempt to withhold defense aid from Ukraine, a central issue in the president’s impeachment trial.

Two days after McCusker’s resignation, Kathryn Wheelbarger, the acting assistant secretary for international security affairs, announced she’d be leaving DoD as well.

Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering, and Lisa Porter, who holds the deputy R&E role, both submitted their resignations last week.