Home Army Technology Here's Who Will Be Running the Pentagon When Biden Takes Office – Defense One

Here's Who Will Be Running the Pentagon When Biden Takes Office – Defense One

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Editor’s Note: Following additional reporting, Defense One has learned that six of the individuals named as part of the planning documents, Halimah Najieb-Locke, Carrie Kagawa, Seth Schuster, Susanna Blume, Tarun Chhabra and Tanya Bradsher, were named to the incorrect postings on the Pentagon’s list. Some of these individuals are under consideration for roles outside the DOD. Chhabra and Bradsher have already been publicly named for a role on Biden’s NSC. Those names have been removed from the list below for clarity’s sake.

Updated: 3:16 p.m.

There’s a new team in the E-ring starting on Wednesday, newly detailed by close-hold Pentagon planning documents reviewed by Defense One.

While news organizations have reported a number of these officials as being considered or expected to be Biden’s pick for the job, this is the most comprehensive list of who will be running the Pentagon when the president-elect is sworn in on Wednesday.

Because President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office on Wednesday without any of his chosen Pentagon officials confirmed by the Senate, his transition team has designated a slate of interim officials to fill those posts to ensure continuity of governance at the helm of the nation’s military. A handful of these officials are holdovers from the Trump administration, but the vast majority are career officials.

Some of those key officials have already been named — current Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist will serve as the acting defense secretary — but many of the mid and lower-level roles have remained unknown.

The Biden administration will also, on Jan. 20, send dozens of political appointees into the building to begin work. Some will remain in appointed positions, while others may be under consideration for some of the higher level, Senate-confirmed roles. 

These lists are based on internal Defense Department documents laying out the new administration’s staffing plans for Jan. 20. The documents are labeled as “pre-decisional,” but were being circulated inside the Pentagon as current as of Tuesday morning — the day before inauguration. A transition official emphasized that the documents were “simply a planning spreadsheet.” 

“Not everyone on it has been officially secured into the positions indicated,” the official said. “It is very much a working document intended for accounting purposes.” 

Read on, below, to see who is slated to fill these roles.

Political appointees

Here are the political appointees whom the incoming Biden administration has slated to fill some of top Defense Department jobs, starting Wed., Jan 20:

Office of the Secretary of Defense

  • Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, OASD(PA) John Kirby
  • Advance Officer Bryson Hughes
  • Senior Advisor to the USD(R&E) Morgan Dwyer
  • Protocol Officer Keenan Geter
  • Deputy General Counsel (Legislation) Ozge Guzelsu
  • DASD (CWMD) Richard Johnson
  • PDASD (Health Affairs) Terry Adirim
  • DGC (Environment & Installations) Taylor Ferrell
  • DASD (Readiness) Kimberly Jackson
  • Senior Advisor, OUSD (Comptroller) Farouk Ophaso
  • DASD (Cyber Policy) Mieke Eoyang
  • Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Brian Katz
  • Special Assistant to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs Carrie Gay
  • Senior Advisor, OUSD (P&R) Beth Foster
  • SA for WHLO Scott Arceneaux
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative Affairs) (Team Chief, Personnel and Readiness) Mitchel Hochberg
  • Confidential Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Ramona Campbell
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (South and South East Asia), OUSD (Policy) Lindsey Ford
  • Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Governance), Office of the Secretary of Defense Laura Kupe
  • Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, OUSD (Policy) Sameer Punyani
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy Environment & Installations Daniel Parnes
  • Director, DARPA Stefanie Tompkins
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) Brittany Albaugh
  • Deputy Press Secretary Jamal Brown
  • Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Senior Advisor, Climate) Joseph Bryan
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary (China) Michael Chase
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Chief, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) Ian Staples
  • Director of Digital Media Andy Oare
  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) Mara Karlin
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Western Hemisphere Affairs) Daniel Erickson
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Industrial Policy) Jesse Salazar
  • Special Assistant, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) David Zikusoka
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kevin Fashola
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Ahmad Khan
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of of Defense (Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities) Daniel White
  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative Affairs), OASD(LA) Louis Lauter
  • Chief of Staff (DepSecDef) Radha Iyengar Plumb
  • Deputy Chief of Staff (DepSecDef) Alice Friend
  • Senior Advisor, OSD Lisa Sawyer
  • Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Senior Advisor, COVID) Max Rose
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Middle East), OUSD (Policy) Dana Stroul
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative Affairs) Roderick Owens
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Eric Ridge
  • Speechwriter, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Veronica Yoo
  • Speechwriter, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Brandon Velez
  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Veronica Valdez
  • Deputy Assistant Director for Nuclear and Missile Defense Programs Leonor Tomero
  • Principal Deputy General Counsel Beth George
  • Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Kelly Magsamen
  • Protocol Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense Salem Mariam
  • Deputy Comptroller for Budget and Appropriations Affairs, Office of the USD (Comptroller) Jongsun Kim
  • Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Zachary Learner
  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations / Low Intensity Conflict Christopher Maier
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, OUSD (P&R) Patricia Barron
  • PDASD (Strategy Plans and Capabilities) Melissa Dalton
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Senate Affairs Matthew Williams
  • Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (China) Ely Ratner
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (House Affairs) Brent Woolfork
  • Chief of Staff for ATSD (PA) Carlie Waibel
  • Director, Travel Operations Roy Sherman
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Ezra Stoller
  • Advance Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense Elizabeth Stockton
  • Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Mohamad Shatara
  • Counsel to the General Counsel Charistian Urrutia

Army

  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jay Shannon
  • Attorney Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, Department of the Army Adil Ahmed

Navy

  • Special Assistant, Office of the Secretary of the Navy Molly Papermaster
  • Residential Manager and Social Secretary of the Vice President Storm Horncastle
  • Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Navy, Department of the Navy Tommy Ross
  • Attorney Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, Department of the Navy Magdey Abdallah

Air Force

  • Attorney Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, Department of the Air Force Peri Tenenbaum

Interim officials

Here’s who the Biden administration has slated to fill some of the Defense Department jobs on an interim basis while it awaits either a Senate confirmed official or a permanent appointee. 

Army

Navy

Air Force

Marcus Weisgerber and Bradley Peniston contributed to this reporting.

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