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Christine Wormuth, then under secretary of defense for policy, listens to opening statements during a House Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, Feb. 25, 2015.
Christine Wormuth, then under secretary of defense for policy, listens to opening statements during a House Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, Feb. 25, 2015. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

This story has been updated.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden intends to nominate Christine Wormuth to be the next Army secretary, making her the first woman to hold that position, the White House announced Monday.

Her nomination is the first of the three service secretaries positions that need to be filled by the Biden administration.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was in Israel on Monday as part of an overseas trip to the Middle East and Europe, called Wormuth a “true patriot” who has dedicated her career to serving the country.

“As the former undersecretary of defense for policy, Christine advanced the department’s counter-ISIS campaign and the rebalance to Asia, and her deep expertise will be critical in addressing and deterring today’s global threats, including the pacing challenge from China and nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” he said in a prepared statement. “I have no doubt that, if confirmed, she will lead our soldiers and represent their families with honor and integrity as the secretary of the Army.”

Wormuth is the director of the international security and defense policy center at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. She had previously worked as the undersecretary of defense for policy from 2014 to 2016 as an adviser for former defense secretaries Chuck Hagel and Ash Carter, according to an online biography. She has also served as the deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces and as a special assistant to the president and senior director for defense at the White House’s National Security Council.

She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Williams College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland at College Park, according to her biography.

Wormuth recently led the Biden administration’s transition team for the Pentagon after Kathleen Hicks was nominated for deputy defense secretary and started the confirmation process, Politico reported Monday.

The acting Army secretary is John Whitley, who has been in the position since Jan. 20. Before he stepped in as the acting secretary, Whitley had served as an assistant secretary of the Army since September 2018, according to his official biography.

The White House also announced several other Defense Department nominations on Monday. Gil Cisneros, a former congressman from California, has been nominated to be the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. He is a Navy veteran and served on the House Armed Services and House Veterans’ Affairs committees.

The White House also nominated Susanna Blume to be director of cost assessment and program evaluation at the Defense Department. She is now performing those duties at the Pentagon, according to the announcement. She had previously worked as a senior fellow and director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.

Kenney.Caitlin@stripes.com Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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