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National Defense > Blog > Posts > Defense Senior Civilian Vacancies On the Rise
Defense Senior Civilian Vacancies On the Rise
By Sandra I. Erwin



Defense industry leaders are growing uneasy over the number of unfilled senior civilian posts at the Pentagon. Many of the current vacancies have not been filled because the Obama administration has not yet named candidates. Others are positions for which nominees still await Senate confirmation.

At least 30 percent of top civilian Defense Department positions as of mid-November either remain vacant or are being filled by officials in acting capacity, according to estimates by Arnold L. Punaro, retired Marine Corps major general and chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association.

“I was surprised to see that so many positions at the Pentagon are vacant,” Punaro said. He worries about a leadership vacuum at a time when the Defense Department is grappling with massive budget problems and thorny policy issues. This is also problematic for contractors as they cope with fiscal uncertainty and look to the Defense Department for guidance, Punaro said.

If the Senate stalemate over nominees continues, the Pentagon could see more vacancies in its top ranks, he said. If the Senate doesn’t move to confirm nominees soon, by Jan. 1, “We'll be at 40 percent.”
 
Senior Civilian Vacancies
 
Submitted resignation, no replacement named:
 
• Deputy Secretary of Defense
• Deputy Chief Management Officer
• Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
• Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs (Nominated for Deputy Director, NNSA)
• Undersecretary of the Army (Nominated for U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia)
• Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower & Reserve Affairs
 
Vacant (or acting), no replacement named:
 
• Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
• Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense & America’s Security Affairs
• Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian & Pacific Affairs
• Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs
• Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
• Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness
• Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management & Comptroller
• Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower & Reserve Affairs
 
Vacant (or acting), awaiting Senate action:
 
• Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
• Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation
• Secretary of the Air Force
• Under Secretary of the Navy
• Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition

Source: The Punaro Group

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Comments

Re: Defense Senior Civilian Vacancies On the Rise

The Pentagon needs to shrink.  Senior management is bloated.  Even though these appear as key and important jobs, start with eliminating these vacant political positions.  Assign their responsibilities to the next regular civilian.  Time to thin out the political appointees.  Consider it part of of SECDEF Hagel's 20% headquarters reduction.
Taxpayer at 11/22/2013 8:19 PM

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