The Navy has selected Sean Burke, the deputy program executive officer for tactical air programs, to serve as the new service’s deputy assistant secretary for sustainment (DASN-S).

Assistant Secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition James “Hondo” Geurts made the announcement during an Oct. 22 House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing.

Burke will begin his new role by the end of October, Geurts told reporters after the hearing. He lauded Burke’s leadership during naval sustainment activities, including “drastically” increasing the mission-capable rates for the F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet. Lessons learned from that experience are already being applied to improve the sustainment of the Navy’s public shipyards, Geurts noted.

“He’s got a lot of energy. He’s thirsty to help us make strategic change, not just incremental change,” Geurts said. “He’s been a very successful leader and I think he’ll be the right one to drive this, and he’s very passionate about making sure we’ve got systems out there for our sailors and Marines.”

Geurts told reporters in September that he planned to create a new civilian position dedicated to sustainment (Defense Daily, Sept. 16).  The DASN-S would report directly to him and maintain oversight over the Navy’s sustainment funding, as well as oversee and manage Navy and Marine Corps policies related to sustainment and life-cycle management, he said at the time.

Per the Navy, Burke entered the Senior Executive Service in November 2017 and assumed duties then as the deputy PEO for tactical aircraft programs at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. In this capacity, he has been responsible executive leadership and oversight of all assigned programs.

Before that, Burke served as the program manager for persistent maritime unmanned aircraft systems (PMA-262), conducting oversight of the development, production, fielding and sustainment of all persistent maritime unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including the MQ-4C Triton program, and the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator (BAMS-D) program.

He also has acquisition and management experience for programs including the Unmanned Carrier Launched Aerial Surveillance and Strike System, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Replacement program, X-45 Unmanned Combat Air System, GQM-163A Supersonic Sea Skimming Target Missile program, and other air-to-ground missile, rocket, and ammunition programs.

Burke served in the Marine Corps from 1986 to 2000 as an AH-1W Cobra pilot, including service as an instructor at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, and as the Air Officer for the 1st Marine Regiment.