WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Mike McCord as Pentagon comptroller, sources tell Defense News.
While the situation can change until the official announcement — which could come as soon as Friday evening — a trio of sources say that McCord appears a lock for the nomination. If confirmed, it would be the second stint for McCord at the comptroller’s office, as he held the job from June 2014 until the end of the Obama administration, which concluded in January 2017.
The comptroller serves as the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense, with oversight of the more than $700 billion defense budget. It also comes with the responsibility of managing the department’s annual audit, an effort that began under McCord’s successor, David Norquist.
McCord, who also spent time as the deputy comptroller, was part of Biden’s transition landing team at the department. Since leaving government, he has held a number of different roles, including as director for civil-military programs at the Stennis Center for Public Service and on the board of trustees for the Aerospace Corporation.
Biden is also considering Michael Brown, the current head of the Defense Innovation Unit, either as the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment or as the undersecretary for research and engineering, the sources said.
Brown, the former CEO of Symantec, joined the DoD in September 2018 to lead DIU, a small office dedicated to increasing ties between the department and commercial technology firms. He has gained a reputation in Congress as a China hawk thanks to his co-authorship of a departmental report about Chinese influence in American tech companies.
Politico previously reported that Brown and Alan Estevez, a former assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, were finalists for the A&S role.
The last Senate-confirmable nominees announced for the department came on Dec. 30. While Colin Kahl, the nominee to be undersecretary of defense for policy, faced united opposition from Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, that may not be an issue with either candidate here. Comptroller is generally seen as a non-partisan position, and McCord is a known commodity to members of the committee. Brown, meanwhile, actually joined the department as an appointee during the Trump administration.
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.