The Trump administration moved to fill two senior Army civilian positions last week, including filling the post of chief weapon buyer.
Bruce D. Jette was tapped to become assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, a position vacated by Heidi Shyu after the presidential election. If confirmed by the Senate, Jette would be the senior civilian official in charge of Army acquisition.
The nomination comes just before the Army has its biggest trade show of the year in Washington, D.C. The service still will be without a confirmed acquisition chief during the largest weapons and tech bazaar of the year, hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), beginning Monday.
Jette most recently worked as president and chief executive of Synovision Solutions LLC, a management and technical consultancy providing engineering services and project management to military and governmental agencies including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Army, Defense Department and commercial industry.
Jette has acquisition experience as founder and former director of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, which fields quick-turnaround solutions to operational problems. Jette also served as strategic science advisor to the chief of staff of the Army, senior research officer in the Army Research Laboratory, and brigade and battalion operations officer in numerous Army units in the U.S. and Germany.
He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the United States Military Academy.
Also nominated is R.D. James to be assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works. James most recently served as a civilian member and engineer on the Mississippi River Commission, originally appointed in 1981 by then President Ronald Reagan, where he provided water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the government on the drainage basin that covers roughly 41 percent of the United States.
James is a self-employed farmer and manager of cotton gins and grain elevators in New Madrid, Mo. He previously served as president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and on the board of directors and executive committee of that association and the Cotton Producers of Missouri, the Board of Directors of U.S. Bank of Sikeston, and the board of directors of Osceola Products.
James is a recipient of the Bronze de Fleury medal for significant contributions to Army engineering. He holds a degree in civil engineering from the Univ. of Kentucky.
The Army also will go into AUSA without a confirmed secretary. Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy will perform the duties of the senior civilian leader. He is scheduled to hold a press conference with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on Oct. 9.
Three men have been tapped by President Donald Trump as Army secretary. The first two nominees voluntarily withdrew their names from consideration before being vetted by the Senate.
Vincent Viola, former Army infantry officer, founder of Virtu Financial and owner of the Florida Panthers professional hockey team, was announced as the administration’s initial nominee in December 2016. Viola withdrew because of conflicts of interest with his business dealings.
Mark Green, Trump’s second nomination for Army secretary, withdrew his name from consideration because of negative comments he made about lesbians and gays serving in the military and about Muslims in general.
Current nominee Mark Esper, head of Raytheon‘s [RTN] government relations and a West Point graduate, was tapped on July 20 but a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee has not been set. SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reportedly was holding up Esper’s confirmation hearing until the committee received testimony from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That testimony occurred Oct. 4.