Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist was confirmed into his new permanent post Tuesday evening with a Senate voice vote that easily approved him to become DOD’s second-ranking official.
Norquist, who was sworn in Wednesday, was the latest Senate confirmation vote came as the chamber hustled to vote on numerous high-priority administration nominees before the chamber adjourns for its August recess, according to Roll Call.
Norquist, previously DOD’s comptroller, led the Pentagon through its first complete audit in 2018 and though the department ultimately failed in the effort, he received bipartisan praise last week from the Senate Armed Services Committee for undertaking the daunting project.
During last week’s confirmation hearing Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) offered praise that he had “strong feelings” about Norquist’s guidance at DOD, The Hill reported.
“In fact, I remember telling the president a long time ago it doesn’t matter who ends up being secretary of Defense so long as you have Norquist in here helping,” Inhofe said.
“Secretary Norquist, we face many challenges that require strong leadership and the ability to make tough decisions,” added Ranking Member Jack Reed (R.I.). “I am very confident you can make those tough decisions.”
Norquist’s appointment establishes his permanent authority in a role he has been performing in an acting capacity since January. The appointment is a welcome development for recently confirmed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who last week said that filling Pentagon vacancies is one of his top priorities.
However, until the Senate returns from its upcoming August recess, Esper and Norquist are expected to lead the nation’s agency with several key civilian positions still unfilled, including Army and Air Force secretaries.
DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando