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Gates Welcomes Four Senior Pentagon Officials

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2009 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today welcomed four high-ranking new arrivals to the Pentagon, hailing them as “welcome additions” to the Defense Department.

The new officials -- nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate -- will work under Gates in the areas of defense acquisition, congressional affairs, global defense strategy and nuclear, chemical and biological programs.

They’ve been on the job for several weeks, but today’s event provided an opportunity for Gates to welcome them formally to the department.

“With a wide range of experience in national security, diplomacy and nuclear deterrence and proliferation issues and congressional affairs, the four new officials we are honoring today are a welcome addition to the Department of Defense,” Gates told an audience in the Pentagon auditorium here. “The Department of Defense is fortunate to have professionals of such talent and experience.”

The new senior officials are:

-- Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Under the authority of the defense secretary, Carter serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor for all matters relating to the defense acquisition, research and development, technology developmental testing and evaluation; production; logistics; installation management; military construction; procurement; environment security; and nuclear, chemical and biological matters.

-- Michael Nacht, assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs. Nacht heads a newly configured directorate in the Office of the Secretary of Defense that develops policy for the secretary on countering weapons of mass destruction, nuclear forces and missile defense, cyber security and space policy.

-- Elizabeth L. King, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs. King is responsible for providing support to the secretary of defense in his dealings with the White House, Cabinet members, members of Congress and the State Department. King also serves as liaison and maintains relationships with members of Congress and the executive branch.

-- Andrew C. Weber, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological programs. In this role, Weber is the principal advisor to the defense secretary, deputy defense secretary and undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics for all matters concerning the formulation of policy and plans for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs.

“Our honorees have already begun to settle in and pack their respective portfolios, but I’m glad to have the opportunity today to formally greet them and highlight the experience and talents they bring to this department,” Gates said, adding that he looks forward to working closely with them on critical decisions ahead of the department.

“Let me thank all four of you for accepting positions that will demand hard work and long hours. And again, thanks to your families for loaning you to us,” Gates said. “I know that every decision we make, you will keep in mind our men and women in uniform and how best to help them accomplish their mission and return home safely.”

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Robert M. Gates
Ashton B. Carter
Michael Nacht
Elizabeth L. King

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