Biden picks 1st woman to be Army secretary

(ABC NEWS) — In a historic nomination, President Joe Biden has nominated Christine Wormuth to serve as the secretary of the Army.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wormuth — who once served as the Pentagon’s top policy official in the final years of the Obama administration — would be the first woman to serve in the position.

Also nominated to two other top Pentagon posts were former California Rep. Gil Cisneros to be the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Susanna Blume to serve as the director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE).

A veteran national security official with previous experience at the Pentagon, Wormuth also served at the director for defense policy at the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

Wormuth has most recently worked as the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation and was an influential player in the Biden transition team at the Pentagon where she headed the Biden-Harris Defense Agency Review Team.

“Christine is a true patriot with a dedicated career in service to America and our nation’s security,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement issued while he is traveling in Berlin.

“As the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Christine advanced the department’s counter-ISIS campaign and the rebalance to Asia, and her deep expertise will be critical in addressing and determining today’s global threats, including the pacing challenge from China and nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” said Austin. “I have no doubt that, if confirmed, she will lead our soldiers and represent their families with honor and integrity as the Secretary of the Army.”

The Biden administration has lagged in naming top officials at several national security agencies, particularly at the Pentagon where career civilians have been working in positions that normally require Senate confirmation.

Until Wormuth’s nomination this week, none of the civilian heads of the military services had been nominated by the White House.

The three Pentagon nominations on Monday were included among almost a dozen national security nominations that included Christy Abizaid to be the next director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

“Defending our nation from enemies foreign and domestic requires a deeply experienced and capable team grounded in a commitment to our nation’s ideals and a keen understanding of the sweeping challenges facing our arm forces today,” said Austin. “The president’s nominations today will help us build that team.”

“Christine Wormuth, Gil Cisneros and Susanna Blume represent decades of combined expertise in national security, and we are positioned to take on the crises we face in the current moment and prepare ourselves for the threats of tomorrow,” he continued. “I urge the Senate to confirm them soon, so that they can take up this critical work.”

Cisneros was a one-term Democratic congressman who represented California’s 39th Congressional District before losing his re-election bid in 2020.

During his time in Congress, the 50-year-old Cisneros served on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee. After the death of Army Spc. Venessa Guillen, Cisneros participated in discussions on the status of Latinos in the Army and helped introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act that would make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

He became a philanthropist in 2010 after he won a $266 million Mega Millions jackpot shortly after he had been laid off from a manager’s position at Frito-Lay.

Prior to her nomination, Blume has already been performing the duties of the director of CAPE. She has held multiple policy and budget positions at the Pentagon and was most recently the Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

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