Report: Biden Picks Trump Appointee David Norquist To Be Acting Defense Secretary Until Nominee Is Confirmed

(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly picked current Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist to temporarily serve as Acting Defense Secretary until Biden’s nominee-designate Gen. Lloyd Austin is confirmed by the Senate.

Norquist was first nominated by President Donald Trump in March 2017 to serve as the Pentagon’s comptroller. Following a months-long shakeup at the Pentagon after the Dec. 2018 resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, the president nominated Norquist to serve as deputy secretary in July 2019.

Officials familiar with the transition said Norquist was a top choice for the role as he largely remained out of the spotlight and is considered a steady hand at the Pentagon, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“DoD has succession plans in place and will execute those plans as non-career officials depart ahead of noon, Jan. 20, 2021,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gogh said according to Politico. “The department is coordinating with the Biden-Harris Transition Team on implementation of succession plans that will go into effect after the inauguration.”

Biden nominated Austin to serve as defense secretary in early December. He would be the first black person in the role if confirmed. (RELATED: Biden’s Pentagon Pick Lloyd Austin Was Accused Of Downplaying ISIS Threat)

Austin’s confirmation could be delayed as he first requires a waiver approved by both chambers of Congress, according to Politico. Under a 1947 law, retired military officials are required to be out of uniform for at least seven years before becoming defense secretary.

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to grant the waiver Jan. 12 and its House counterpart will reportedly make its decision during a hearing Jan. 21, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Austin is also scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 19 before the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of his confirmation proceedings, according to the committee’s public schedule.