LONDON — Britain's new defense procurement minister is Harriet Baldwin. The former economic secretary at the Treasury takes over from Philip Dunne as part of the widespread government reshuffle prompted by the appointment last week of Theresa May as prime minister.
The identity of the new procurement minister was revealed earlier today in a tweet saying she was "heading for my first day at defence headquarters as minister for defence procurement."
That came as a bit of a surprise at the Ministry of Defence where later in the day a spokesman declined to confirm the appointment of several new ministers to the department's political team saying their roles would be announced later in the week.
Baldwin's appointment was sparked by the departure of the very highly regarded procurement minister Philip Dunne, who has moved to the Department of Health.
The prime minister reappointed Michael Fallon as the defense secretary just hours after she took up the reins leading the Conservative government, but the more junior political appointments were announced over the weekend, however without their actual designated roles being made known.
Mark Lancaster, who has been personnel and veterans minister since 2015 ,also tweeted saying he has delighted to be staying on in his ministerial role.
The fourth political appointment announced to date is former police minister and ex-Grenadier Guardsman Mike Penning. His role is not yet publicly confirmed but is likely to be as the replacement for Penny Mordaunt, the armed forces minister.
Mordaunt and reserves minister Julian Brazier have both exited the department .
Little is known about Baldwin at this early stage. She is a former JPMorgan fund manager who become a member of Parliament in 2010 for south Worcestershire in England — an area which includes defense and security companies like UTC Aerospace and Qientiq.
One executive who has dealt with Baldwin at the local level said she was "very supportive of the defense, aerospace and cyber industry sector here. She has also shown considerable interest in science and has her constituency office in the local science park."
She has represented the UK on the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and was at one stage the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Russia and became the prime minister's trade envoy to Moscow before taking on her first government role in 2014.
Her previous role at the Treasury meant she was responsible for managing relations with London financial institutions.
During her 20-year career in finance she specialized in currency markets for pension funds; that may be no bad skill for a procurement minister now tasked with managing the potential effects on the equipment budget of the collapse of the pound against the US dollar in the wake of the British referendum vote to exit the European Union.
The political appointments come at a time of change for the military leadership in the UK.
Since April, the permanent secretary, the Ministry of Defence's top civil servant; the first sea lord; the vice chief of the defense staff; most recently the chief of the air staff; and the chief of the defense staff have all changed. With the exception of the permanent secretary, who was promoted, all the changes were part of the normal rotation of service chiefs.