Elana Broitman served as the principal contact between the Pentagon and defense industry leaders. (US Defense Department)
WASHINGTON — The US Defense Department’s industrial policy chief Elana Broitman announced that she will step down next month after only five months on the job, Defense News has learned.
Broitman — who served as the principal contact between the Pentagon and defense industry leaders — made the announcement during an all-hands meeting on Friday. There, she told the members of the industrial policy office that her husband’s job had recently moved him to New York and she wanted to spend more time with him and their daughter.
Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed Broitman would leave the Pentagon at the end of August to join her family.
“The department will ensure that the work of [Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy] will continue through this transition,” Schumann said in an email.
The move came as a shock to some in the defense industry, particularly since Broitman had attended the Farnborough Air Show in England last week where she was one of the senior members of the US delegation. There she met with numerous defense industry leaders.
Broitman came to DoD in 2013 as the deputy industrial policy chief. When former industrial policy chief Brett Lambert stepped down last summer, Broitman replaced him in an acting capacity before officially being named deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy in March.
Throughout her short tenure, Broitman maintained a fairly low public profile, but often met with industry leaders. Despite having no defense industry experience, defense insiders say she is bright and a fast study.
“In a very short period of time, she’s come up to speed very quickly and done a terrific job,” said Arnold Punaro, chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association and CEO of the Punaro Group consulting firm. “She’s been very receptive [and] very helpful to industry.”
Betsy Schmid, vice president for national security and acquisition policy at the Aerospace Industries Association said: “It has been a true pleasure to work with Elana — her competence, depth of knowledge of the defense industrial base and willingness to listen to and work with defense industry has truly enhanced our relationship with the department. We wish her and her family all the best in their future endeavors.”
But Broitman faced a challenge following Lambert, who was revered in defense circles and had 20 years of experience working for defense and intelligence firms.
A successor has not been named for the position, which is considered vital by those in the defense industry, particularly as Pentagon spending contracts, leading to fewer major defense contracts. ■