WASHINGTON — Senators confirmed four new U.S. Defense Department assistant secretaries in evening work Wednesday, including the Pentagon’s new head of Pacific affairs.
All four nominees were approved by voice vote without opposition. The group also passed through committee without difficulty and will be sworn into the new posts in the coming days.
Randall Schriver takes over as the new assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005, and as chief of staff and senior policy adviser to the deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2003.
He also held numerous Pacific-focused jobs at the Pentagon prior to that and spent part of his Navy reservist career as a military attache to the embassy in Beijing, China.
The Senate also confirmed new assistant secretaries for three of the services. Bruce Jette will become a new assistant secretary for the Army, Thomas Harker for the Navy and John Roth for the Air Force.
Jette will handle acquisition, logistics and technology for Army planning. He most recently served as CEO of Synovision Solutions, a consulting firm with numerous military contracts. He is an Army veteran who previously worked in military posts, and he was the founder of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force.
Harker, who will serve as comptroller for the Navy, was previously the associate deputy assistant secretary of financial policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is a Coast Guard veteran who spent time working in the Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama.
Roth, the Air Force’s next comptroller, was the Pentagon’s deputy comptroller for program and budget. He has held numerous financial officer positions within the Defense Department, including acting principal deputy undersecretary of defense for the comptroller.
Senators also confirmed James McPherson to be general counsel for the Army during Wednesday’s work, along with Air Force Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton to be promoted to lieutenant general and become the next commander and president of Air University.
John Rood, nominee for the Pentagon’s undersecretary for policy, is scheduled to face a Senate confirmation vote Jan. 3.
The Senate has now confirmed 32 Defense Department nominees in the last 11 months. White House officials had complained earlier this year about the slow pace of nominations, saying it hurt their ability to conduct a wide range of military planning activities.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.