WASHINGTON – The White House late Friday announced its intent to nominate a pair of key Pentagon individuals, including the departments future technology head and its top Asia policy official.
Michael Griffin, a Bush-era NASA administrator, will be the nominee for deputy undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L). That job lines Griffin up to becomes the first ever undersecretary of defense for research and technology, or USDR&E, come Feb. 1 when AT&L is split into two new organizations.
On Oct. 9 , Defense News exclusively reported that Griffin was the likely nominee for the R&E spot.
Ellen Lord, the current undersecretary of AT&L, will slide over to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. Both Lord and Griffin will have to be reconfirmed for those jobs, but are not expected to field any opposition.
As R&E, Griffin will serve as the department’s point person on developing new technologies.
Also announced Friday was Randall Schriver to be assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs. In that role, Schriver would lead the Pentagon’s outreach on issues in the Pacific. The announcement comes as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis visited South Korea, and just a few weeks before President Donald Trump will make his first trip to Asia.
Schriver served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2003 to 2005, and as chief of staff and senior policy adviser to Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state, from 2001 to 2003. He followed Armitage into private consultancy.
In March, Defense News broke that Schriver, seen as an advocate for Taiwan, was in discussions to join the Pentagon in some role.
One former Pentagon official praised Schriver, calling him “very solid,” and saying “he is the last person to throw a temper tantrum, he has a very cool head and he thinks stuff through. He is an adult, he’s been through this process, he has worked for very senior folks at senior levels of government, and he knows how the place works.”
“In terms of intellectual background, in terms of career development, he’s just a great fit,” the former official added. “I think he would be a great pick.”
Both men were listed as individuals the White House intends to nominate, rather than formal nominations; those are likely to come next week.
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.