Acting, Principally

By Sebastian Sprenger / January 19, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter has given Alan Shaffer, the principal deputy director for defense research and engineering, another hat to wear.

As of Jan. 7, Shaffer is also the acting principal deputy director of operational energy plans and programs, Carter wrote in a memo to his senior staff.

Lawmakers created the DOEP&P post in the Fiscal Year 2009 defense authorization legislation, enacted in the fall of 2008. The idea was to put a senior Defense Department official in charge of making all things operational -- from weapons to vehicles to forward bases -- more energy efficient.

Last December, White House officials nominated Sharon Burke, vice president of natural security at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, for the job. Sources said Shaffer himself was considered for the job last year, but declined.

Notably, Carter's memo refers to “implementation guidance” for the DOEP&P job, issued by Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn on Oct. 19, 2009. The guidance puts the new office under Carter's “authority, direction and control,” the memo states.