Appointee Watch: Administration Announces Picks for Key Management Posts, NASA
President Trump announced a long list of nominees to key positions within the administration late last week, most notably to posts managing the federal workforce, budget and acquisitions.
Trump named Jeff T. H. Pon to be director of the Office of Personnel Management, replacing George Nesterczuk, who withdrew his name from consideration in July after going two months without a Senate confirmation hearing. And the president named Margaret Weichert to be deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as Frederick Nutt to be controller in OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management.
The General Services Administration received a nominee for the director job as well, in the form of Emily Murphy, who currently serves as senior adviser to acting GSA chief Tim Horne and has been the agency’s chief acquisition officer and counsel to multiple congressional committees.
The appointments cap a laundry list of new nominations announced just days before Congress returned from its August recess Tuesday. Confirming the candidates is yet another priority for lawmakers in a month with much to do, coming on top of raising the debt ceiling, approving the first round of emergency funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and passing a spending package to keep the federal government open past Sept. 30.
According to The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, which have been tracking more than 500 key administration appointments requiring Senate confirmation, 117 individuals have been approved and are working at their posts. An additional 149 have been announced or formally nominated, while 330 seats remain vacant.
Among the appointees named last week are:
Agriculture: Gregory Ibach, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Ibach is the Nebraska director of agriculture, where he oversees the state’s plant and animal health regulatory functions. He is past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
William Northey, undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services. Northey is the Iowa secretary of agriculture and a fourth-generation farmer.
Stephen Vaden, general counsel. Vaden is an attorney at the Washington, D.C., firm of Patton Boggs and Jones Day, working primarily on appellate litigation and election and administrative law.
CIA: Christopher Sharpley, inspector general. Sharpley has been acting inspector general for the CIA since 2015. He served as deputy inspector general for the agency from 2012 until 2015.
Commerce: Timothy Gallaudet, assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere. Gallaudet is a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, most recently serving as the branch’s oceanographer and commander of its meteorology and oceanography command. He has experience in weather and ocean forecasting and he has developed policies aimed at countering illegal and unregulated fishing, as well as assessing the security impacts of climate change.
Defense: Robert Behler, director of operational test and evaluation. Behler most recently was chief operating office and deputy director at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, where he focused on cyber security issues. He has had a number of posts in both private industry and academia, and he is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He was commanding general at the Air Force Command and Joint Headquarters North, NATO, and he retired from the Air Force as a major general.
Thomas Modly, undersecretary of the Navy. Modly is a managing director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Government and Public Services sector. He previously served as deputy undersecretary of defense for financial management and the first executive director of the Defense Business Board. He also served as a helicopter pilot in the Navy.
Dean Winslow, assistant secretary for health affairs. Winslow most recently was a professor and vice chair of medicine at Stanford University. Before entering academia, Winslow spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, where he helped develop antiretroviral drugs and other innovations. He is a retired Air Force colonel, and he was deployed multiple times to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Energy: Bruce Walker, assistant secretary for electricity, delivery and energy reliability. Walker is the founder of Modern Energy Insights Inc., a company that evaluates risk for utilities’ electric infrastructure. He has more than 25 years of experience in electric utilities.
Steven Winberg, assistant secretary, fossil energy. Winberg has an extensive career in fossil fuel technology, including stints as vice president for research and development for CONSOL Energy Inc. and as senior program manager of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit applied science development company.
Environmental Protection Agency: Matthew Leopold, assistant administrator and general counsel. Leopold is the former general counsel for the Florida Department of Environment Protection and a former environmental attorney in the Justice Department.
David Ross, assistant administrator in the Office of Water. Ross is director of the Environmental Protection Unit at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. He previously served as a senior assistant attorney general in the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, where he represented the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality on water issues.
Export-Import Bank: Mark Greenblatt, inspector general. Greenblatt is the assistant inspector general for investigations at Commerce. Since 2014, he has had a number of positions in the Commerce Department’s Office of the Inspector General, and he previously served as investigative counsel at the Justice Department OIG.
Federal Labor Relations Authority: James Abbott, member. Abbott has been chief counsel for FLRA since 2007. He previously served as deputy general counsel for the Congressional Office of Compliance, and he has held a number of stints as legal counsel within the Defense Department.
Colleen Kiko, chairwoman. Kiko is a judge of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board at the Labor Department. She worked in the FLRA’s predecessor agency, investigated labor practices in the Washington Regional Office of the FLRA when it opened in 1979, and became FRLA’s general counsel in 2005.
Housing and Urban Development: Suzanne Tufts, assistant secretary. Tufts is a consultant and attorney with experience in what the White House described as “turnaround management and operations” in the public and nonprofit sectors.
Justice: John Demers, assistant attorney general in the national security division. Demers is vice president and assistant general counsel at Boeing. He has held a number of other positions at Boeing, before which he was on the first leadership team of Justice’s national security division. He is also a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Labor: Katherine McGuire, assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs. McGuire is chief of staff to Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., and she previously served as staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under then-Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.
Cheryl Stanton, administrator, Wage and Hour Division. Stanton is executive director for the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. She previously served as an attorney focusing on labor and employment issues in both the public and private sectors. She was associate White House counsel during the George W. Bush administration.
David Zatezalo, assistant secretary for mine safety and health. In 2014, Zatezalo retired as chairman of Rhino Resources GP LLC, a coal company. He has 40 years of experience in the coal mining industry.
NASA: James Bridenstine, administrator. Bridenstine is a Republican congressman representing Oklahoma. He is a retired pilot with the U.S. Navy, where he flew the E-2C Hawkeye and the F-18 Hornet. After his military career, he was executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium.
Securities and Exchange Commission: Robert Jackson, member. Jackson is a professor at Columbia Law School and the director of its Program on Corporate Law and Policy. He previously served as a senior adviser at the Treasury Department during the financial crisis.
State: Larry Andre Jr., ambassador to Djibouti. Andre has been a career American diplomat since 1990, and he is currently ambassador to Mauritania. He has been appointed to nine American missions abroad, mostly in Africa, and he has held a number of senior policy positions at State.
Nina Fite, ambassador to Angola. Fite has been a career diplomat since 1990, and she currently is the principal officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal. She has served at seven U.S. missions overseas, and was a negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Daniel Foote, ambassador to Zambia. Foote is deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and has been a career diplomat since 1998.
Richard Grenell, ambassador to Germany. Grenell is a writer and commentator on foreign policy issues, and he founded the consulting firm Capitol Media Partners in 2010. He served as a spokesman for the U.S. at the United Nations from 2001 until 2008.
Kenneth Juster, ambassador to India. Juster most recently was deputy assistant to the president for international economic affairs and served as deputy director of the National Economic Council. Juster was undersecretary of Commerce during the George W. Bush administration, and he held a number of posts in the State Department in the George H.W. Bush administration.
W. Robert Kohorst, ambassador to Croatia. Kohorst is president and founder of Everest Properties in California.
Edward Masso, ambassador to Estonia. Masso is a retired Navy admiral and the founder of Flagship Connection, a consulting firm focused on issues surrounding missile defense and cyber security.
Edward McMullen, Jr., ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and to Liechtenstein. McMullen is president of McMullen Public Affairs, an advertising and PR company for corporations facing “the most challenging business and public policy environments.”
Jennifer Gillian Newstead, legal adviser. Newstead is a lawyer in private practice, where she represents clients in cross-border regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters. She has held posts as general counsel of OMB, principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, and as associate counsel to the president.
David Reimer, ambassador to Mauritius and the Seychelles. Reimer has been a career diplomat since 1991. He is currently director of the State Department’s Office of West African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs.
Eric Whitaker, ambassador to Niger. Whitaker has been a career diplomat since 1990, and he currently is acting deputy assistant secretary for East Africa and the Sudans. He has served at embassies in 10 African countries and was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines.
Veterans Affairs: Randy Reeves, undersecretary for memorial affairs. Reeves is the executive director of the Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board and president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs. He is a retired Navy commander and a former enlisted Air Force airman.