Trump taps private equity executive for top special operations job

trump-taps-private-equity-executive-for-top-special-operations-job

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Louis Bremer as his pick assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity combat, the top civilian oversight role on special operations.

Bremer served eight years as a SEAL officer and is a graduate of the Air Force Academy; according to his bio, he led a number of classified operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1998. He was a White House fellow in 2007-2008 and served on the Homeland Security Council in the Executive Office of the President.

Bremer currently is managing director at Cerberus Capital Management, a large private equity firm. Cerberus co-CEO Stephen Feinberg is a major Trump donor who leads the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Before joining Cerberus, Bremer led Bain Capital’s aerospace, defense and government services investment practice.

If confirmed, he would be the official replacement for Owen West, who left the office at the start of 2019; Thomas Alexander has been performing the duties of the ASD since West’s departure. The Pentagon is currently seeking a legislative change from Congress that would change the job title to ASD for “Special Operations and Irregular Warfare.”

Bremer may face a long road to landing the job. Under the Trump administration, an intent-to-nominate announcement can sometimes come with a long lag before the nomination actually arrives for the Senate Armed Services Committee to take up, and there are already a number of individuals ahead of Bremer in the queue waiting for a vote.

And the Senate is expected to have only ten weeks or so of work between now and November’s election, during which it will have to deal with priority issues like the COVID-19 outbreak and the fiscal year 2021 budget, which could leave nominees stuck waiting for attention.

Overall, there are 20 spots at the Pentagon missing confirmed employees, a third of the total DoD spots requiring senate confirmation.

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Including Bremer, there are five nominees who have been named as intended nominees but have yet to have details sent to the Senate: Shon Manasco as the Air Force undersecretary, Michele Pearce to be general counsel of the Army; John Whitley to be director of the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office; and Kathryn Wheelbarger to be deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security.

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