WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Owen West as the assistant secretary of defense for special operations in a 74-23 vote.
West, a retired Marine, published author and Goldman Sachs executive, cleared the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 20, but had been stuck in limbo ever since.
Although largely seen in the defense community as a qualified candidate, West generated controversy over a 2016 editorial in which he argued against the integration of women into Marine combat roles.
During a July 12 confirmation hearing, West apologized for what he called a “reactionary” piece of writing.
“I regret it. The article drifted, and there are sentences in there that are clearly wrong that I don’t even agree with. If confirmed, I come with no agenda and no politics. I support all the DoD policies, and the fact is, all jobs are open,” West said. “Gender indifferent. That is my position.”
In his new role, West will serve as a key adviser to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on special operations issues.
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.