President-elect Barack Obama announced key Pentagon appointments this afternoon, nominating William J. Lynn to be deputy defense secretary, Robert Hale to be the comptroller, Michèle Flournoy to be the under secretary for policy and Jeh Charles Johnson to be general counsel. In a statement, Obama said:
“I am confident that these distinguished individuals have the expertise and commitment needed to help me implement a sustainable national security strategy that combats 21st century threats and keeps the American people safe. They share with me the utmost respect for our brave men and women in uniform, and will work day and night to support our troops, strengthen our military, and advance our capacity to carry out 21st century missions. Together with Secretary Gates and our military, we will work to responsibly end the war in Iraq, defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban, and renew America’s strength and standing in the world. I am honored that they have joined me in this mission, and I trust that they will serve the American people well.”
Here are the biographies of the nominees sent along with the announcement:
William J. Lynn III, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Lynn brings decades of experience and expertise in reforming government spending and making the tough choices necessary to ensure that American tax dollars are spent wisely. Lynn served as the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) from 1997 to 2001. In that position, he was the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense and the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for all budgetary and fiscal matters. From 1993 to 1997, Lynn was the director of program analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he oversaw all aspects of the DoD’s strategic planning process. Lynn was awarded three DoD medals for distinguished public service, the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and awards from the Army, Navy and Air Force. He also received the 2000 Distinguished Federal Leadership Award from the Association of Government Accountants for his efforts to improve defense accounting practices. Lynn currently serves as senior vice president of Government Operations and Strategy at Raytheon Company. Before entering the DoD in 1993, Lynn served for six years on the staff of Senator Edward Kennedy as liaison to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has also been a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University, on the professional staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses and served as the executive director of the Defense Organization Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Lynn has a law degree from Cornell Law School and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He is married with a daughter.
Robert F. Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
Hale currently serves as the Executive Director of the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC). From 1994 to 2001 Mr. Hale was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller). He was responsible for the Air Force budget and all aspects of Air Force financial management. He also spearheaded creation of the first-ever certification program for defense financial managers. Hale served for twelve years as head of the defense unit of the Congressional Budget Office. Early in his career, Hale served on active duty as a Navy officer and worked for the Center for Naval Analyses. Robert Hale holds a BS with honors from Stanford University as well as an MS from Stanford and an MBA from George Washington University. He is also a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration. Mr. Hale has served on the Defense Business Board and recently completed service on a Congressionally-mandated Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care. He is a former National President of the American Society of Military Comptrollers and is a Certified Defense Financial Manager with acquisition specialty.
Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense (Policy)
In January 2007, Flournoy cofounded and was named president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a venture dedicated to advancing a strong, centrist national security strategy. Prior to joining CNAS, she was a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she worked on a broad range of defense policy and international security issues. Previously, she was a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU), where she founded and led the university’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) working group, which was chartered by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop intellectual capital in preparation for the Department of Defense’s 2001 QDR. Prior to joining NDU, she was dual-hatted as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy. In that capacity, she oversaw three policy offices in the Office of the Secretary of Defense: Strategy; Requirements, Plans, and Counterproliferation; and Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasian Affairs. Flournoy was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000. In addition to several edited volumes and reports, she has authored dozens of articles on international security issues. Flournoy holds a B.A. in social studies from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.
Jeh Charles Johnson, General Counsel
Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, based in New York City. Johnson's career has been a mixture of successful private law practice (as an experienced trial lawyer) and distinguished public service (as a federal prosecutor and presidential appointee). At age 47, he was elected a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Johnson's career as a trial lawyer began in 1989-91, as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted public corruption cases. He served three years as a federal prosecutor. In 1998, Johnson left Paul, Weiss for 27 months when President Clinton appointed him General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, following nomination and confirmation by the United States Senate. While in that position, Johnson was awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. In 2007-08, Johnson served as a foreign policy advisor to President-elect Obama’s campaign. Johnson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia Law School.
-- Jason Sherman