The transition team makeup was announced Friday morning on the Trump team’s GreatAgain.gov website. The list leans heavily on retired officers, primarily from the Army, but also features strong reorientation from industry.
Earlier in the year, Trump made a series of comments that had some in DC wondering if a president Trump would look to slow down the military-industrial complex.
"I hear stories, like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests," Trump said in February, according to a report from the Washington Examiner. "Because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor."
In October, Trump told a crowd that he was going to "expand the definition of lobbyist so we close all the loopholes that former government officials use by labeling themselves consultants, advisers, all of these different things, and they get away with murder. Not gonna happen."
Those comments seem long ago, with today’s team announcement unlikely to change the belief among investors that the spigot of military dollars is about to reopen.
The transition team, which is expected in the Pentagon Friday morning, is made up of:
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who served as the chief operating officer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq for about six months in 2003 and 2004, joined Cubic in 2009, handling the companies ground combat systems. He was promoted to vice president of Strategic Initiatives in 2014. A company representative said Kellogg left the company in early 2015.
Mira Ricardel spent the first two years of the George W. Bush administration as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Eurasia before spending two more years as acting assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. She then left for industry, primarily for a nine-year stint at Boeing, including seven years as vice president of business development for strategic missile and defense systems and two as vice president for international business development related to network and space systems; her Linkedin profile says she left Boeing in 2015 for consulting firm Federal Budget IQ, although the Trump team says she was most recently self employed. Interestingly, the first name listed on the website is that of Ricardel, with Kellogg listed second. On a draft organizational chat obtained by Defense News last Friday, Kellogg was listed above Ricardel. It is unclear if that has shifted or if the list is simply unsorted on the Trump website.
Thomas Carter held a number of defense-related roles throughout his career in government service, including time as deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs and senior counselor to the Coalition Provisional Authority for legislative affairs, Baghdad, Iraq. He joined Elbit Systems in 2009 as vice president, government relations. A company spokesperson did not immediately return requests for comment on Carter’s employment status, but his last appearance in Elbit lobbying disclosure documents came in the third quarter of 2015.
William Hartzog, a retired four-star Army general who led United States Army Training and Doctrine Command before retiring in 1998, is the CEO of Burdeshaw Associates, Ltd. Burdeshaw is a government contracting group that does not appear to have lobbied Congress directly since 2005, but a presentation on its website claims Hartzog’s team helped build support for systems such as the B-1 and B-2 bombers, the Stryker land vehicle, and the C-17 transport, among others.
Sergio de la Peña has led the de la Peña Consulting, LLC, for five years. Before that, he spent two years at one of L3’s branches, according to LinkedIn. He served as a Trump surrogate during the campaign, reaching out to the Latino community.
Other names on the transition team include Bert Mizusawa, a retired Army major general and Silver Star recipient who was an early adviser to Trump during the election; Earl Matthews, whose most recent occupation is listed as “US Army”; and Michael Duffey, an executive with the Republican Party of Wisconsin who has held several jobs in the Pentagon, primarily in the field of systems engineering and analysis.
The sole representative from the think-tank world is Justin Johnson, a well-known defense analyst with the Heritage Foundation. Aside from Heritage, the defense think-tank community in DC has found itself on the outside looking in at the Trump administration, due to the large number of individuals who were part of the “never Trump” movement.
Johnson is seen as having a deep understanding of defense budgetary issues, and hours after the election sat down with Defense News to discuss his views on what a Trump administration means for defense spending.