Trump DoD ‘landing team’ adds new name

The Trump transition team added a new name to its Defense Department “landing team” charged with easing the change of administration.

Greg Gardner, the chief architect of government and defense solutions at NetApp, a data company, will join nine other defense experts on the landing team.

Gardner was a colonel in the Army and worked on command and control in the Joint Staff.

Last Friday, the Trump transition team announced its initial DoD landing team members.

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Others on the roster include Mira Ricardel of M. Ricardel LLC; Keith Kellogg, senior vice president at Cubic Defense Applications Inc. and Thomas Carter, vice president of government relations for Elbit Systems of America, LLC.

The landing team is heavily stocked with former military and defense industry representatives. Justin Johnson, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, is the lone think tank representative. Johnson is known for his expertise in defense budgets.

Kellogg is a retired Army lieutenant general, who had a hand in the coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Carter served as the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs.

Other names on the list include retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Earl Matthews; William Hartzog, former commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command and Sergio de la Pena of de la Pena Consulting.

DoD has been preparing for the transition since before the election.

“We have procedures in place, but the transition team hasn’t arrived at the Pentagon yet. These practices, by the way, were settled upon weeks ago before the election was concluded. This is normal,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Nov. 14 in Washington. The transition team “has not come yet. They are expected, I think, sometime this week.”

Carter said DoD is ready to welcome and help the new administration transition in.

“This has been going on for 240 years. I, myself, have witnessed transitions in the past,” Carter said. He commended his senior leadership for standing apart from the political process.

This summer, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work asked the Defense Business Board to share its private sector knowledge of management transitions and use them to assess the presidential transition of power.

“These opinions and recommendations should offer advice on the unique challenges and opportunities of a management position within an enterprise as vast and diverse as the Defense Department,” the memo stated.

Work is the Pentagon’s lead on the presidential transition.

“I’m going to be central to the transition, so I’m going to be able to personally talk with the transition team and explain to them what we have pursued and why we pursued it and let them make their own decisions,” Work said last summer.

Read the latest news about the incoming administration on our Tracking the Transition page.

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