Obama Makes Work’s Defense Nomination Official

He’ll appear before a Senate committee next week for his confirmation hearing.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, citing the recent Pay Our Military Act, will recall to work hundreds of thousands of furloughed civilian employees of the Department of Defense next week.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
Feb. 7, 2014, 11:58 a.m.

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.”

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