James Geurts, the former Navy acquisition head who has been performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Navy, on Wednesday said he is retiring from government service this month.
Geurts served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition from December 2017 until stepping down on Jan. 20 when the Biden administration came into office. Upon stepping down, he resumed serving as a Senior Executive Service (SES) employee with the Navy (Defense Daily, Jan. 15).
Then, in February, the Navy designated Geurts to temporarily fill in as the second highest civilian at the Navy. In this role he has served as the deputy and principal assistant to Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker as well as chief operating office and chief management officer for the Navy Department (Defense Daily, Feb. 4).
Previously, Harker served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller.
On Aug. 4, Geurts posted a handwritten memo announcing his retirement dated Aug. 3 to social media website LinkedIn.
“I have decided to retire from government service later this month. It was an extremely difficult decision given my strong believe in our mission and pride in being part of the [Department] of the Navy team,” Geurts wrote.
This decision comes after the Senate moves toward confirming President Biden’s selection for Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, who was nominated in June (Defense Daily, June 11).
On July 27, the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced Del Toro’s nomination to the full Senate for consideration, along with several other nominations (Defense Daily, July 30).
“I have been truly blessed by the great teammates, bosses, mentors, international colleagues, and industry partners with whom I have had the good fortune to work with in my career as an Air Force officer, SES and appointee. It would have been hard for me to imagine when I began as an ROTC freshman in 1983, the incredible opportunities and experiences that would unfold over the next 38 years of my service,” Geurts wrote.
Before serving as the Navy acquisition chief, Geurts served as the acquisition executive for U.S. Special Operations Command and before being selected for the SES, he started his career as an Air Force officer.
Geurts’ departure leaves the Navy without an announced nominee for the Navy’s number two civilian or a statement on who will act in his place before one is confirmed. Beyond Del Toro, the Biden administration has not named any other top Navy civilian positions.