WASHINGTON — A man who has served not once, but twice, as the acting secretary of the Army is now officially confirmed for the highest civilian post in the service.

Ryan McCarthy previously served as the undersecretary of the Army but became the acting secretary when then-Army Secretary Mark Esper was nominated to become the defense secretary this summer. McCarthy also served as acting secretary until Esper was confirmed in late 2017.

As undersecretary, McCarthy helped spearhead disruptive reform across the service along with then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Esper and Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville.

All four rose in power over the summer, with Milley becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Esper becoming the defense secretary and McConville becoming the Army chief.

Under the group’s purview, a new four-star command was established to prioritize modernization, and together they led a meticulous, deep-dive review of the Army’s budget, shifting more than $30 billion toward its priorities.

The team also led the shaping of the service’s new war-fighting doctrine, Multidomain Operations, and launched a new way to manage talent in the service.

McCarthy testified in a confirmation hearing before the Senate on Sept. 12.

The former undersecretary served in the 75th Ranger Regiment during the invasion of Afghanistan, was a special assistant to former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and worked on the House Committee on International Relations. When he was nominated to become undersecretary in 2017, he was working as a vice president at Lockheed Martin.

“Mr. McCarthy has served capably as Acting Secretary of the Army for the past few months, and I’m glad the Senate has voted to confirm him in that role today," Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said in a statement.

“As we implement the recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission Report, it’s important we have a nimble, modern fighting force that is ready to take on 21st century challenges. At his nomination hearing, Mr. McCarthy correctly noted the critical role the Army plays in our Joint Force, and I am confident he will enable the Army to fulfill that role,” Inhofe said.

Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.

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