Leading Defense adviser tapped to be new personnel chief

A senior adviser for Defense Secretary Ash Carter and longtime Senate committee staffer has been named as acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Peter Levine, who has served as deputy chief management officer at DoD since May 2015, will take over as the Defense Department’s top personnel official once Brad Carson steps down from the position on April 8.

An official with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs confirmed Levine’s new position to Federal News Radio. Military Times broke the news of Levine’s new position Thursday morning.

peter levine
Peter Levine, current deputy chief management officer, has been named as acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Carson had served as acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness since April 2015, but faced an uphill battle in the Senate confirmation process. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) in February asked the Senate Armed Services Committee to put the brakes on Carson’s nomination in order to investigate some whistleblower claims of a “hostile work environment.”

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In a recent House subcommittee hearing, Levine addressed the “horrendous record” that DoD has on deploying business IT systems, and called for better harmonization between his office, the DoD CIO and the office of the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, logistics and technology.

In his role as DCMO, Levine was positioned to play a major role in DoD’s difficult path to audit readiness, a goal which he told the Senate Armed Services Committee would likely take longer than the Pentagon’s 2017 deadline.

Prior to his appointment as DCMO, Levine served on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee for nearly 20 years, offering legal advice on legislation and nominations, and briefing committee members on matters such as acquisition policy, civilian personnel policy, and defense management.