This post has been updated to clarify that Thomas Harker was performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense and comptroller.
Thomas Harker, who for the last few years has served as the Department of the Navy’s chief civilian financial official, will assume the role of acting Navy secretary once President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News.
Since 2018, Harker had served as the assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller.
On July 2, 2020, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman announced that Harker would be performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense and comptroller after Elaine McCusker departed. Alaleh Jenkins, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller, has been performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller.
Harker is a Coast Guard veteran who previously worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget, according to his biography. He also had a stint in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite has served as the Navy’s top civilian since May 2020. President Donald Trump picked him for the position after acting SECNAV Thomas Modly was forced to resign due to the handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Modly assumed the acting role in November 2019 after the removal of former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.
Defense News first reported that Harker would be the acting SECNAV on Thursday.
Additionally, comptrollers from the Army and Air Force will serve as their corresponding services’ acting secretaries, according to Defense News. Politico reported that current Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist will serve as the acting defense secretary until a new SECDEF is confirmed.
The incoming Biden administration has tapped former U.S. Central Command chief Lloyd Austin to lead the Pentagon. His confirmation hearing is slated for next week.