WASHINGTON — The Senate late Wednesday confirmed Robert O. Work, a retired Marine colonel and former Navy undersecretary, as the next Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Work will step into his new role at a time the Pentagon is beset a falling defense budget, uncertainty over key strategic issues and roiling military personnel issues ranging from compensation to sexual assault in the ranks.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement Wednesday evening hailing his new right-hand man.
“Bob is an admired and tested leader, with a distinguished career of public service, including during his time as an officer in the Marine Corps and as undersecretary of the Navy,” Hagel said. “He brings to this position a depth of experience, knowledge, and expertise that will greatly benefit the Department of Defense.”
Work has been serving recently as chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security, a defense-oriented Washington think tank with close ties to the Obama administration.
From 2009 to 2013, Work served as Undersecretary of the Navy, where he was known for his scrutiny of budgets and deep analysis of the requirements of U.S. naval power.
In 2008, he headed the Navy portion of then President-elect Barack Obama’s DOD Defense Transition Team.
Work retired in 2001 after 27 years in the Marine Corps, capping off his time in uniform as military assistant to Navy Secretary Richard Danzig. Before that, he commanded Camp Fuji, Japan, and had been an artillery battalion commander, among other assignments.
He is taking over for acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox, who filled in after Hagel’s former deputy, Ashton Carter, retired in December.
“I am grateful to Christine for her wise counsel, steady leadership, and her constant dedication to our men and women in uniform,” Hagel said in a statement to the press. “She will be greatly missed.”