President Barack Obama is appointing Christine Fox as the acting deputy secretary of defense, according to a Tuesday Pentagon statement.
“I am announcing that President Obama has accepted my recommendation that he appoint Christine Fox Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, effective Dec. 5,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in a statement. “She will be able to help me shape our priorities from day one because she knows the intricacies of the department’s budget, programs and global operations better than anyone.”
Fox’s nomination comes as a surprise to many who had expected former undersecretary of the Navy Bob Work to be appointed to the deputy secretary position. Work is currently the chief executive officer of Center for a New American Security.
Fox’s nomination also continues a recent Obama administration push to place more women to top defense positions.
Fox previously served as the director of the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office for about four years. Fox was also a key player in shaping the Defense Department’s Strategic Choices and Management Review.
Fox’s appointment, however, is temporary while a search continues for a permanent replacement for outgoing deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter, who is stepping down. “I am grateful that she has agreed to return to the Department of Defense, pending the nomination and confirmation of a permanent successor to Deputy Secretary Carter,” Hagel said.
Hagel likely took the unusual step of appointing an acting deputy secretary because the Senate confirmation process could take months. But the Pentagon does not have months since it is working on the fiscal year 2015 budget submission and is about to launch a Quadrennial Defense Review.
However, it would not be outside the realm of the possible for Fox to be nominated as the permanent deputy secretary position.