Christine Wormuth, The New Secretary of the Army. An Upward Learning Curve

Christine Wormuth was confirmed as Secretary of the Army on Wednesday, then unconfirmed, then reconfirmed on Thursday. Her confirmation was unanimous. But she has never been in uniform, nor worked in Congress, and she is the first female Secretary of the Army in US History.

Christine Wormuth

Her nomination by the Biden administration sailed through the Senate with little controversy. Late Wednesday night, the confirmation was somehow derailed and even Schumer walked it back. Then on Thursday morning it was a “go” again. It is unclear why that happened, but according to Military.com it could have been a procedural issue.

Who is Christine Wormuth?

Wormuth, who most recently was the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at Rand, had a deep background in defense policy work and public service. She also was a member of the Biden administration’s Pentagon transition team…

She served as undersecretary of defense for policy — the Pentagon’s top policy role — from 2014 to 2016 during the Obama administration. That stint came on the heels of a series of roles in the administration, including two years as deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and force development…

“Her policy background may be particularly helpful in connecting the Army to broader national security goals. That’s important because many strategists are looking to cut the Army as a bill payer for maritime and aerospace initiatives,” said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the CSIS International Security Program. “However, she will need to gain the Army’s trust because she has no particular connection with the Army, unlike the Army secretaries during the Trump years who had deep roots in the Army.”

Army Times

With no particular relationship to the US Army, she may have an uphill battle on her hands. She also faces the prospect of Biden’s budget cuts to the US Army.

As Secretary of the Army she will be expected to do three main things: be an effective communicator about the value of land power, to forge an effective relationship with Congress, and to lead change in the Army. Since Ms. Wormuth does not have experience working in Congress or directly with land power, she will need to continue to develop those aspects.”

Thomas Spoehr, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense

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