Updated: It’s Official, Bob Work Tapped to be Next Deputy Secretary of Defense

February 7, 2014 12:43 PM - Updated: February 7, 2014 2:49 PM
Former under secretary of the Navy Bob Work. US Navy Photo
Bob Work. US Navy Photo

Bob Work, former Marine and second highest ranking civilian in the Department of the Navy, has been selected by President Obama to be the next Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two job at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Pentagon reporters on Friday.

““The president announced — as of about five minutes ago — he would nominate Robert Work as Deputy Secretary of Defense,” Hagel said Friday afternoon.
“The president and I both appreciate Bob’s willingness to serve his country again.”

Work’s ascendency to the job, vacated last December by former deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter, has been anticipated for months in Washington.

Work, who became a chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security after his departure from the Pentagon, would become the permanent replacement for former deputy defense secretary, replacing temporary appointee Christine Fox, the former head of the Pentagon’s office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation.

Before becoming the undersecretary of the Navy, Work wrote extensively about naval and maritime strategy at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).

Work was among the first to recognize that the Pentagon would have to contend with a rising anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) challenges in the 2003 paper Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge, which he co-wrote with Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts.

Work has been a staunch advocate for carrier-based long-range unmanned strike capabilities and developing technologies that would enable giant vessels to operate in highly contested environments.

Prior to joining the CSBA, Work served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 27 years as an artillery officer.

Before the announcement was technically official from the White House, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) had already scheduled a Feb. 13 hearing for Work’s nomination according to the committee’s website.

A spokesman for the SASC declined to elaborate on the scheduled hearing to USNI News at the time.

Congressional leaders quickly praised Work’s selection.

“Bob Work’s career, both in and out of uniform, has been devoted to serious analysis of the strategic challenges and opportunities facing the United States and its military, winning the respect of both Democrats and Republicans,” Rep Randy Forbes (R-Va.) — chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee — said in a statement provided to USNI News.
“Through his leadership on numerous issues, including the future structure of our Navy and Marine Corps and the impact of game-changing technologies on modern warfare, Mr. Work has proven himself to be one of the nation’s most thoughtful strategists and defense thinkers.”

Work will now await confirmation from the U.S. Senate at the Feb. 13 hearing.

Sam LaGrone and Dave Majumdar

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. Dave Majumdar is a longtime defense writer.

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