Obama nominates Bob Work to be No. 2 at DoD

Robert Work couldn’t stay away from the Defense Department for too long.

President Barack Obama today nominated Work to be the next deputy secretary of Defense. If the Senate confirms him, this would be Work’s third tour of duty at DoD.

Robert Work (CNAS photo)
He spent 27 years in the Marines Corps before retiring in 2001.Work came back to DoD in 2009 as the undersecretary of the Navy. He left the Navy in March 2013, and less than a year later is poised to replace Ashton Carter as the number two executive in DoD. Christine Fox has been serving as acting deputy secretary since Carter left in December.

“Bob, who most of you know, most of you have worked with when he was undersecretary of the Navy, is a highly respected and nationally recognized strategic thinker, practitioner and expert on national security, as well as budgeting, technology, military affairs,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a press conference Friday. “A retired Marine Corps officer, he’s an admired and tested leader, having until recently served, as you know, as the undersecretary of the Navy. Those responsibilities included the day-to-day management of the Department of the Navy. The President and I both appreciate Bob’s willingness to serve his country once again and return to the Department of Defense. I’m looking forward to Bob getting here and working closely with him. We together and the team here intend to continue to strengthen this department, our military and our national security.”

Work has been the CEO of the Center for New American Security since leaving the Navy.


CNAS said in a statement that Work will remain the CEO until he is confirmed by the Senate. Once that happens, Michèle Flournoy will serve as interim CEO until the Center’s board selects a successor. Flournoy, who is CNAS board co-chairwoman and co-founder and a senior advisor with the Boston Consulting Group, served from 2009 to 2012 as the under secretary of Defense for Policy.

“Bob Work is among the most gifted analysts and defense leaders of his generation. He will do extraordinary things helping Secretary Hagel lead the Department of Defense,” said former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, current member and former chairman of the CNAS board of directors, in a statement.

The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to hold the nomination hearing for Work and Michael McCord, President Obama’s choice to be DoD comptroller, on Feb. 13.

“Bob’s distinguished career of public service, his ability and his experience and knowledge of DOD make him uniquely qualified for this position,” Hagel said. “And if confirmed, he will bring to the deputy’s role the essential qualities required to help lead our national defense enterprise at a very, very challenging time.”


Carter steps down, Fox appointed new acting deputy DoD secretary

After Navy role, Work to head CNAS think tank