Appointee Watch: Another Round of Nominees for GSA, Defense, VA, State and Others

Despite flurry of activity, many key administration posts remain vacant.

The Trump administration has continued its effort to nominate high-level government staff, recently announcing another round of federal prosecutors and a number of posts at the General Services Administration.

But Charlie Clark reports that even as the White House announces appointments on a nearly daily basis, it could soon run afoul of the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which requires permanent picks for top agency jobs to be in place by mid-October.

And last week, Trump nominated Dr. Jerome Adams to serve as surgeon general. Adams is currently the Indiana State Health Commissioner and seen by some as an unconventional choice, as surgeon generals are usually nominated from within the federal Public Health Service.

The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service have been tracking the status of more than 500 key administration positions that require Senate confirmation. As of June 30, 46 officials have been confirmed to their posts, while 134 have either been announced or formally nominated. Meanwhile, 384 jobs remain vacant.

In recent days, the White House has announced the following nominations:

Commerce: Peter Davidson, general counsel. Davidson most recently was senior vice president for congressional relations at Verizon and previously served as general counsel to the U.S. trade representative.

Defense: Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. Following a planned reorganization of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Lord will be undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment beginning next February. Lord most recently served as president and CEO of Textron Systems, a defense contractor that provides hardware for a variety of military systems and technology.

Homeland Security: James McDonnell, director for domestic nuclear detection. McDonnell has worked as a consultant on security issues in the private sector, at times providing advice to Homeland Security on weapons of mass destruction programs. Before entering the private sector, he served 20 years in the Navy, including as a senior explosive ordnance disposal officer in the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Interior: Douglas Domenech, assistant secretary. Domenech is currently senior advisor to Secretary Ryan Zinke. He previously served as Virginia’s secretary for natural resources and worked for the Forest Resources Association. He was a White House liaison to the agency during the Bush administration and served a stint as acting deputy assistant secretary for insular affairs.

International Trade Commission: Jason Kearns, commissioner. Kearns is chief international trade counsel for Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee. He previously served for three years in the Office of the General Counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative.

National Labor Relations Board: William Emanuel, member. Emanuel is an attorney that represents employers in labor and employment law cases in Los Angeles and has litigated many cases before the NLRB.

State: Carl Risch, assistant secretary for consular affairs. Risch is acting chief of staff for U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. He has served as a senior immigration official both at embassies and in the U.S. for more than a decade, most recently as field office director for USCIS in Seoul.

Kelley Currie, ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Currie is a senior fellow with the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank focused on security and policy issues in the Asia-Pacific region. She previously served as staff director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

John Desrocher, ambassador to Algeria. Desrocher is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and he has been a diplomat since 1988. He currently serves as the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Egypt and Maghreb Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Maria Brewer, ambassador to Sierra Leone. Brewer is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, and she has been a diplomat since 1996. She is deputy director of State’s Career Development and Assignments Division of the Bureau of Human Resources.

Jamie McCourt, ambassador to Belgium. McCourt is an attorney and entrepreneur. She was a co-owner and president and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009 until 2011.

Robert Wood Johnson IV, ambassador to the United Kingdom. Johnson is the chairman and CEO of The Johnson Company and the New York Jets.

Luis Arreaga, ambassador to Guatemala. Arreaga is a career diplomat, serving in the Foreign Service since 1981. He currently serves as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at State.

Transportation: Mark Buzby, administrator of maritime administration. Buzby is a retired Navy rear admiral, and during his career he commanded destroyers and cruisers, as well as holding positions on the Navy Staff and Joint Staff. He currently works as president and CEO of the National Defense Transportation Association.

Treasury: Christopher Campbell, assistant secretary for financial institutions. Campbell is the staff director for Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee. He previously worked as legislative director to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Veterans Affairs: Thomas Bowman, deputy secretary. Bowman is the staff director for Republicans on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He previously held a number of posts at Veterans Affairs during the George W. Bush administration, including acting assistant secretary for the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, deputy chief of staff and chief of staff. Bowman spent 30 years in the Marine Corps, retiring as a colonel.

James Byrne, general counsel. Byrne was most recently associate general counsel and chief privacy officer at Lockheed Martin, where he also served as the company’s lead cyber and counterintelligence attorney. He previously served in the Office of the U.S. Special Counsel, was a deployed Marine infantry officer and a federal prosecutor.