Two former defense industry officials, Army officers, and a Beltway think-tank analyst are included on President-elect Donald Trump’s Defense Department transition team.
The list of nine names was published on Trump’s transition website Greatagain.gov on Friday morning, along with members of “Agency Landing Teams” for the State Department, the National Security Council and the Justice Department. Each team member is identified by most recent or current employer and “funding source.”
Listed atop the Defense Department transition team is Mira Ricardel, a former Boeing [BA] executive who also served as acting assistant secretary of defense for international security policy under then-Pres. George W. Bush. She is listed as currently working for M. Ricardel LLC and her work is being funded through the Trump “transition entity,” according to the website.
Keith Kellog, a senior vice president at Cubic Corp. [CUB] is serving on the team in a volunteer capacity, as is Thomas Carter, a vice president at Elbit Systems. Carter formerly served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs.
William Hartzog, who currently works as a defense consultant for Burdeshaw Associates, is a former Army four-star general who led Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the 1st Infantry Division and U.S. Army South before retiring in 1998. In his capacity as a consultant, Hertzog claims to have supported several high-profile development programs, including the C-17, B-1 and B-2 Bombers and the Stryker wheeled combat vehicle.
Bert Mizusawa is a retired Army major general who was a Trump surrogate during the campaign. He is listed as most recently working for the Army.
Also volunteering time is Michael Duffy, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Earl Matthews, who is listed as working for the U.S. Army. Sergio de la Pena, who is listed as self-employed, will also help transition the Defense Department. He was an early Trump supporter and worked primarily on Hispanic outreach during the campaign.
Justin Johnson, a well-known analyst working for the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, rounds out the nine-member Defense Department transition team.
Members of the team were expected Friday at the Pentagon, eight days after Trump’s election. Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook released a statement Thursday night that the Office of the Secretary of Defense was expecting the Trump team the following morning.
“Representatives of the president-elect’s transition team contacted the department a short time ago to arrange initial briefings. We expect the first will take place Friday,” Cook said. “As Secretary Carter has said, we will do everything we can to help ensure a seamless and efficient transition.”
There is no consensus as to who Trump will tap to replace Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, though the list narrowed with the announcement late Thursday that Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., would be installed as Attorney General and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn would be Trump’s national security advisor.
Sessions was near the top of Defense Secretary candidates. The short list of politicians being considered for the top job at the Pentagon now includes Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and former Republican senator from Missouri Jim Talent. Also reportedly in the running are beloved retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis and former Army Vice Chief of Staff Jack Keane, who visited Trump Tower in New York this week.