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Robert Work Said to Be Obama Choice for Pentagon’s No. 2

New American Security CEO Robert Work
Robert Work was Navy Under Secretary from 2009 through 2013 and served 27 years in the Marine Corps. Source: U.S. Navy via Bloomberg

The White House is expected to announce as soon as tomorrow that President Barack Obama will nominate Robert Work as the Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian leader, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified in advance of an announcement.

Work, 61, is currently chief executive officer at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security. Work was Navy under secretary from 2009 through 2013 and served 27 years in the Marine Corps. He also was a member of the Pentagon transition team for the Navy at the start of Obama’s first term.

As Navy under secretary, Work was a top advocate for the $34 billion Littoral Combat Ship, including a 2012 paper for the Navy War College entitled, “The Littoral Combat Ship: How We Got There And Why.”

The cost of the ship, built in two versions by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd., has climbed, and its early performance has been questioned by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester. Christine Fox, who is acting deputy defense secretary, has told the Navy to plan to buy 32 of the ships instead of the 52 originally intended.

If Work is nominated, he may be asked at his Senate confirmation hearing about Fox’s decision.

Ashton Carter stepped down in December as deputy defense secretary.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a Feb. 13 hearing for other nominees, including Michael McCord as the new Pentagon comptroller.

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