President Joe Biden announced Monday he will nominate Christine Wormuth to be the next secretary of the Army, where she would be the first woman to serve in the role.

Biden also announced he is nominating Susanna Blume as director of the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office, a role she currently holds in an acting capacity, and former Congressman Gil Cisneros to be under secretary of defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Christine Wormuth

Wormuth previously served as DoD’s top policy official during the Obama administration and is currently director of the RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center.

As the next Army secretary, Wormuth would be tasked with navigating the service’s massive modernization effort to field an array of new weapon systems and develop new operating concepts for future multi-domain operations during a period of likely flat or declining budgets in the coming years.

Ryan McCarthy and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the last two Army secretaries, spent the last few years shifting billions of dollars from lower priority programs to fully fund modernization initiatives with senior officials, including McCarthy, predicting that tougher divestiture decisions were on the horizon (Defense Daily, Oct. 7). 

The White House noted Wormuth has also served as senior director for defense policy on the National Security Council, adding that she helped “shape the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance that began rebalancing the military toward the Indo-Pacific.”

“Christine is a true patriot with a dedicated career in service to America and our nation’s security. As the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Christine advanced the department’s counter-ISIS campaign and the rebalance to Asia, and her deep expertise will be critical in addressing and deterring today’s global threats, including the pacing challenge from China and nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and North Korea. I have no doubt that, if confirmed, she will lead our soldiers and represent their families with honor and integrity as the Secretary of the Army,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a statement.

Blume, who most recently served as director of the Center for a New American Security’s (CNAS) defense program, has performed the duties of the DoD CAPE director since January 20. 

In the role, Blume would be tasked with helming the office to assess potential cost and strategy impacts for trade-off decisions associated with Pentagon programs. 

Prior to joining CNAS, Blume served in the Pentagon as the deputy defense secretary’s deputy chief of staff for programs and plans where she “advised on programming and budget issues, global force management, operational and strategic planning, force posture, and acquisition policy,” the White House noted. 

Cisneros, a Navy veteran and former one-term Democratic Congressman, would serve as the department’s top civilian on personnel issues.

During his time representing California’s 39th district, Cisneros served on both the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

“He fought to address the issue of mental health and suicide amongst both our veterans and service members. After the death of Spc. Venessa Guillén, he was invited to participate in discussions about the status of Latinos in the Army and helped to introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act to make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” the White House wrote.