Former NASA Chief Tapped As Number-Two Pentagon Weapon Buyer

A former NASA administrator has been tapped by the Trump administration as the deputy chief weapon buyer for the Pentagon.

Michael D. Griffin on Oct. 27 was nominated to become the next principal deputy undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L). If confirmed by the Senate, Griffin will report directly to Ellen Lord, who serves as undersecretary of defense for AT&L.

Aerial view of the Pentagon, Arlington, VA

Griffin most recently served as chief executive of the Schafer Corporation, a provider of scientific, engineering, and technical services and products in the national security sector. During the second half of the administration of President George W. Bush he served as administrator of NASA, where he established the architecture for Space Shuttle replacement and human return to the Moon and initiated the first development of commercial cargo delivery service to Earth orbit. 

He is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal. Griffin is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, the Catholic University of America, the University of Maryland, the University of Southern California, Loyola College and George Washington University.

Griffin will be joining an acquisition office that is not long lived in its current form. Lord is overseeing a congressionally mandated restructuring of the AT&L hierarchy in which her job will be split into new positions.

The newly created under secretary of defense (USD) for Research and Engineering will oversee the creation of new capabilities while a USD for Acquisition and Sustainment is responsible for transitioning new weapons and gear to the field, then managing the program life-cycle. The changes are scheduled to take effect Feb. 1, 2018, but Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan has said details would be available far in advance of that deadline.

The Trump administration filled one other vacant Pentagon position on Oct. 27, nominating Randall G. Schriver to be assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs. 

Schriver most recently served as a founding partner of Armitage International LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in international business development and strategies, as well as CEO and President of the Project 2049 Institute, a non-profit research organization dedicated to the study of security trends in Asia. 

He previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and for two years as chief of staff and senior policy advisor to the deputy secretary of state. He is a former a Navy intelligence officer. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Williams College.

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