Sept. 11, 2001, he told Politico last week, was a “terrible, terrible thing for the country. But people immediately assumed that that would be the end” of reform at the Pentagon. In fact, he writes in his book, 9/11 also “provided an impetus to achieve many of the changes that were needed to meet the threats of the 21st Century.” So there you go.
He says he’s “happy as a clam these days.”
The White House announced last week that President Obama “appointed” Natalie Wyeth Earnest to be assistant secretary for public affairs at the Treasury Department and
as assistant secretary for administration at the Agriculture Department.
There’s more news to these appointments than you might think. Normally, these jobs would require Senate confirmation. But under bipartisan (yes, you read that right) legislation passed last year, neither of them had to go through that torture. The law removed the need for Senate approval of about 169 of these and similar jobs.
The White House made use of the law last year to appoint a deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and some folks to boards and possibly to some other positions last year.
But a quick check last week by the Partnership for Public Service of 23 of the 169 similar jobs affected by the law found 12 of them filled by holdovers from the first term and 11 still vacant. (Make that nine after Thursday.)
Last week’s announcement also included the nomination of Jon Holladay to be chief financial officer at the Agriculture Department. Under the new law, unless a senator objects, that nomination (and about 270 others) falls into the new “streamlined” nominations category and will bypass the Senate agriculture committee and go directly to the Senate floor for a vote.
Acting and trading
Miriam Sapiro is expected to be named this week as acting U.S. trade representative, taking over for the outgoing acting rep, Demetrios Marantis, when he leaves Wednesday to take a top job at Square, the mobile-payments company.
Sapiro has been deputy U.S. trade representative since January 2010, handling trade policy in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
Sapiro will be in the new job pending Senate confirmation of Mike Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, who was nominated May 2 to be U.S. trade rep.
With Emily Heil
The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.