Farah, 30, previously worked on Capitol Hill for five years, serving as the spokeswoman for the conservative House Freedom Caucus and before that as communications director for Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).
The Pentagon, like many other parts of the Trump administration, has had an uneasy relationship with the media. Far fewer news briefings have been held than during previous administrations, in what journalists and former officials have described as a decline in transparency and public engagement when there has been confusion at times over President Trump’s approach to the U.S. military’s role in the world.
In Pence’s office, Farah had a reputation as a professional who generally had a good working relationship with the White House press corps. At the Pentagon she will be challenged to do the same with the reporters who cover the Defense Department and as new Secretary Mark T. Esper, who assumed his post last month, determines how he will interact with the news media. Farah said she plans to hold frequent briefings.
“Alyssa has made an enormous contribution to the office of the vice president for the past two years, and we’re pleased that she’ll continue to serve the administration at the Pentagon,” said Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff.
Nick Ayers, Pence’s chief of staff before Short, said the Pentagon should utilize Farah beyond just interacting with the news media.
“If they are smart, and I suspect they are, she’ll be empowered to be a strategic thinker and doer, which will help them see around the Washington corners that often create unnecessary friction between the Pentagon, Congress and the White House,” he said.
In Pence’s office, Farah worked daily with the National Security Council, Defense Department and CIA detailees on the vice president’s staff on various international issues. She has traveled to more than a dozen countries as part of the official U.S. delegation, working directly with leaders and heads of state, and has also traveled to dozens of military bases around the world with the vice president.
Farah served, for instance, as part of the official U.S. delegation to the 2019 Munich Security Conference, as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Papua New Guinea, both in 2018.
From her perch in the news media and communications shop, she has also advised on national security issues, including an ultimately aborted meeting between Pence and North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea; an impromptu meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the ASEAN summit in Singapore; and the first meeting between Colombian President Iván Duque and Venezuela’s National Assembly President Juan Guaidó.
Domestically, from Pence’s post as the chair of the National Space Council, she advised on and oversaw the rollout of the Space Command and Space Force.
Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said he was “excited” for Farah to join the Defense Department public affairs team, where in addition to serving as press secretary, she will also be a deputy assistant to the defense secretary, for media.
“Her experience working for the vice president on a range of issues — including national security and national defense issues — will transition well to the department as our press secretary and reinforce the secretary’s commitment to press engagement,” Hoffman said in a statement.