Robert Work will be nominated to serve in the Pentagon’s No. 2 spot, the White House announced Friday.
The decision is by no means a surprise. News of the pending nomination broke a few days ago, and the Senate Armed Service Committee jumped the gun this morning, announcing it would hold his confirmation hearing next week.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked the committee for its “prompt action.”
Work, who is currently the CEO at the Center for a New American Security, previously served as the under secretary for the Navy, with Hagel calling him an “admired and tested leader” and a “nationally recognized strategic thinker.”
Work, if confirmed, will replace Acting Deputy Secretary Christine Fox, who stepped into the role in December, becoming the Pentagon’s highest-ranking woman.
The former Navy official returns to the Pentagon as it faces a challenging fiscal environment, and draws down its presence in Afghanistan.
Hagel sidestepped questions about a drawdown timeline, specific U.S. troop levels, or when he believes a bilateral security agreement would be signed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, but he did say that Pentagon leaders continue to work with allies to plan for a “post-2014 mission.”
Hagel also addressed the department’s ongoing ethics scandals, noting that he plans to appoint a senior-level ethics officer.
“I don’t think there is one simple answer to the issue of ethics, values, a lapse in some of those areas that we do know about,” Hagel said. “That’s why we’re taking a hard look at this. I think we need to find out: Is there a deep, wide problem? If there is, then what’s the scope of that problem. How did this occur.”