Norquist, who served as the Pentagon’s comptroller and then No. 2 civilian during the Trump administration, will step into the role May 1. NDIA, which has 1,700 member companies, is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for industry.
NDIA’s chairman, retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, praised Norquist’s 30 years of experience in national security and federal financial management and said Norquist would “continue NDIA’s strong tradition of nonpartisan leadership.
“We’ve selected a strong leader at a time of great challenge in the defense marketplace,” Punaro said in the announcement. “With his proven experience and accomplishments in our industry, the legislative branch, and two of the largest, most complex federal government organizations, David is capable from day one to continue enhancing the industry-government relationship that is essential to supporting the warfighter and the taxpayer.”
Norquist, who briefly served as acting defense secretary in the early days of the Biden administration, had since joined the law firm Covington. Before joining the Trump administration, he was chief financial officer for the Department of Homeland Security, and his prior experience includes time as a professional staff member on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
“It is an honor to be selected to serve as President and CEO of NDIA,” Norquist said. “As a nation, one of our core strategic advantages is the innovative character of our defense industrial base. Our long-term national security depends on government effectively capitalizing on that strength and I look forward to assisting in that effort.”
While serving at the Pentagon, Norquist made progress on its first department-wide audit, and later while in charge of the Pentagon’s day-to-day operations, he co-chaired DoD’s COVID-19 Task Force and, with the Department of Health and Human Services, launched Operation Warp Speed
Norquist also helped establish Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, an effort to get the defense industry to better protect its networks from cyber attacks, which the Pentagon has since revised amid industry pushback.
At NDIA, Norquist replaces Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, who retired as the four-star chief of Air Combat Command. Carlisle, who has led NDIA since 2017, announced this month he would exit the role on April 1 amid disagreements with Punaro and the board’s vice chairman, Michael Bayer.
Executive Vice President James Boozer will serve as NDIA’s acting chief executive and president until Norquist takes over.
Joe Gould is senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.