WASHINGTON — Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department's point person on both nonproliferation efforts and weapon sales to partner nations, has been named the number two official at NATO.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced his decision to appoint Gottemoller as the deputy secretary-general Monday, several months after US Secretary of State John Kerry put forth her candidacy for the job.
Gottemoeller will take over Oct. 1, replacing the retiring Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, another American, as the number two in NATO. Vershbow had held that job since 2012.
In the announcement, Stoltenberg praised Gottemoeller's "wealth of experience in international security policy, and in areas such as arms control and relations with Russia." The statement also highlighted that Gottemoeller becomes the first woman to hold that post.
Gottemoeller currently serves as the US under secretary for arms control and international security, a job that oversees both the nonproliferation and political-military affairs teams inside State – in essence, serving as the leader of US efforts to both restrict the flow of weaponry while also making strategic decisions about arming allies.
The choice occurred despite protests from Congressional republicans, who charged that Gottemoeller purposefully misled them in 2015 testimony and was not sufficiently focused on the threat from Russia. Congressional Democrats backed the nomination.
However, the choice belonged to NATO, not the US officials, and Stoltenberg apparently was not impressed with the domestic voices against the choice.
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.