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President Announces Picks for Top DOD Posts

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2012 – President Barack Obama today nominated four people to fill key Defense Department posts.

The president nominated Erin C. Conaton as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; Frank Kendall III as undersecretary for defense for acquisition, technology and logistics; James N. Miller as undersecretary of defense for policy; and Jessica Lynn Wright as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

“I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years,” the president said yesterday in a statement announcing his intent to send the nominations to the Senate.

Conaton currently is undersecretary of the Air Force. She previously served in various positions on the House Armed Services Committee, culminating in her term as staff director from 2007 to 2010. From 1998 to 2001, she worked on the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, also known as the Hart-Rudman Commission. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

If confirmed, Conaton will replace Clifford L. Stanley, a retired Marine Corps major general, who announced his resignation Oct. 27. Stanley held the office from Feb. 16, 2010. JoAnn Rooney, principal deputy undersecretary for personnel and readiness, has served as acting undersecretary since Stanley’s departure.

Kendall currently is acting undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. He previously has served as principal deputy undersecretary in that department, and in the private sector as a managing partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, a technical and program management consultant, and vice president of engineering at Raytheon. Kendall’s previous DOD experience includes five years as director of tactical warfare programs, three years as assistant deputy undersecretary for strategic systems, and four years as chief of the systems analysis office within the Ballistic Missile Defense Systems Command. From 1971 to 1982, he served as a U.S. Army officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., a master’s degree from the California Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in business administration from Long Island University, and a law degree from Georgetown University.

If confirmed, Kendall will replace former undersecretary Ashton B. Carter, who was sworn in as deputy defense secretary Oct. 6. Carter served in the undersecretary position from April 2009.

Miller currently is the principal deputy undersecretary for policy. His previous positions include senior vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security, and seven years in senior leadership at Hicks and Associates Inc. He also has served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for requirements, plans, and counterproliferation policy. From 1992 to 1997, he was an assistant professor at Duke University. Miller began his career in 1988 as a professional staff member for the House Armed Services Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree and doctorate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

If confirmed, Miller will replace Michèle Flournoy, who announced her resignation Dec. 12. Flournoy assumed the office in February 2009.

Wright currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for manpower and personnel. She previously was Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard. She also served as the Army’s deputy adjutant general for the Army and state Army aviation officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard. She commanded Pennsylvania’s 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division. Wright began her military career in 1975 in the Pennsylvania National Guard. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Alderson and Broaddus College and a master’s degree from Webster University.

If confirmed, Wright will replace Dennis M. McCarthy, a retired Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant general, who resigned effective June 1. McCarthy assumed the office in June 2009. David L. McGinnis currently serves as acting assistant secretary for reserve affairs.


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