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For the First Time, a Woman Has Been Nominated to Lead the Army

Christine Wormuth delivers remarks during a ceremony.

Then newly-commissioned Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth delivers remarks during a ceremony Aug. 4, 2014, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. (DoD/Glenn Fawcett)

The Biden administration plans to nominate Christine Wormuth, a former top Defense Department official, as the first female Army secretary, according to a White House news release.

Wormuth, 51, who is currently director of the Rand International Security and Defense Policy Center, would be the Biden administration’s first service secretary nomination, leaving the Navy and Air Force top civilian jobs still open.

If confirmed by the Senate, she would replace Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley, who took over the post after Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy left in January.

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Wormuth served as under secretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration from 2014 to 2016, which made her the third most senior civilian in the Pentagon.

In that role, Wormuth advised Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Ash Carter on a range of regional and functional national security issues. She also frequently represented the Pentagon at the White House and spent considerable time on the counter-ISIS campaign, the rebalance to Asia, counterterrorism operations, and U.S. defense relations with countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, according to the White House release.

Politico first reported on the story.

From 2012 to 2014, Wormuth was deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces, and led the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. She also served as special assistant to the president and senior director for defense at the National Security Council from December 2010 until August 2012.

“Christine Wormuth has the experience and knowledge necessary to lead the United States Army through the complex and multifaceted challenges we face today, both internationally and at home,” Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a 30-year Army veteran, said in a statement on the pending nomination. “She has in her time in the Pentagon and in public policy repeatedly demonstrated a deep understanding of force structure, military strategy, and the foreign and domestic relationships that are critical in protecting our national security, allies and interests around the globe.”

In January, Wormuth led the Biden-Harris Defense Agency Review Team, and she has twice received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, according to the White House release.

After growing up in College Station, Texas, Wormuth graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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