WASHINGTON — A previous Raytheon CEO, the cofounder of a satellite radio company, and a former ice cream company CEO are among the eight new members of the Defense Business Board appointed by Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
The group joins the 18 current members of the board, established in 2002 to advise Pentagon leaders on best practices and ideas from industry.
The new members, formally announced July 16, represent a mix of backgrounds that mesh well with Carter's stated desire to bring in voices from non-defense businesses as advisors for the Pentagon.
The new members are:
- Mahlon (Sandy) Apgar IV, former assistant secretary for installations and environment, Department of the Army.
- Robert Holland, corporate director, managing partner, chief mentor and advisory board member of Essex Lake Group and former CEO of Ben & Jerry's.
- Jerry MacArthur Hultin, senior presidential fellow of New York University and president emeritus of Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
- William Swanson, chairman of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and former CEO of Raytheon.
- Lon Levin, president of SkySeven Ventures and cofounder of XM Satellite Radio.
- John O'Connor, chairman of J.H. Whitney Investment Management.
- Maj. Gen. (ret.) Arnold Punaro, president of the Punaro Group, former executive vice president of SAIC and a retired US Marine Corps major general.
- Atul Vashistha, founder and chairman, Neo Group, a consultancy focused on the service industry.
Both Holland's Essex Lake Group and Vashistha's Neo Group emphasize the use of analytics to find solutions to problems, something Carter has expressed an interest in. Meanwhile, O'Connor's J.H. Whitney is an asset management firm, while Apgar is described by the Pentagon as an "asset advisor," again showing a trend line of business acumen from outside the traditional defense industry in the picks.
At the same time, the group contains experience with the Pentagon in the forms of Apgar, a former assistant secretary for installations and environment with the Army, and Punaro, a well-known and respected voice on defense issues who is chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association.
"I welcome the new business leaders joining our ranks, and am pleased to see former members return at such an important time for our country," Carter said in a statement. "Their keen insight and vision will continue the invaluable work the Defense Business Board has done in improving the department's business operations."
This is not the first move to reshape the Defense Business Board since Carter took office. In April, he appointed Michael Bayer, president and CEO of Dumbarton Strategies, as the board's chair. Bayer had served in that position from 2007-2011.
The board will next meet on July 23.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.