Biden Taps Trump-Appointee to Run Pentagon Until New Pick Confirmed

Biden Taps Trump-Appointee to Run Pentagon Until New Pick Confirmed pentagon is shown from an aerial view (Dreamstime)

Thursday, 14 January 2021 01:46 PM

President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly tapping Trump-appointed Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist to run the Pentagon while the new Biden team works to confirm a permanent Department of Defense chief.

Norquist, appointed by President Donald Trump in July 2019, will take over after the inauguration and be in charge until the Senate confirms retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, Politico reported, citing unnamed sources.

Meanwhile, Thomas Harker, the acting DOD comptroller, will serve as acting Navy secretary, and John Roth, Air Force comptroller, will serve as acting Air Force secretary, Politico reported. But several Trump appointees are handing in their resignations, the news outlet reported.

Those leaving include Anthony Tata, the acting Pentagon policy chief who once called former President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader.” He stepped down this week, Politico reported.

Tata, a retired Army brigadier general, was among a number of Trump loyalists who held top jobs in the Pentagon after the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Politico noted. Trump’s political appointees are expected to resign by Jan. 20, the news outlet reported.

Jennifer Walsh, currently the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, will take over from Tata as acting undersecretary of defense for policy, the news outlet reported.

And Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia and a career civil servant who testified before Congress during Trump’s impeachment trial last year, will take over as the acting assistant official in charge of international security affairs, Politico reported.

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