WASHINGTON: In an interesting twist in the era of software-heavy systems such as the F-35, President Trump has nominated a top cyber expert, Robert Behler, as the Pentagon’s top weapons tester.
Behler currently is COO for the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center. Before that, he was president and COO of SRC, Inc., which does a great deal of cyber and radar work.
A retired Air Force major general, Behler knows the pointy end of the test regimen, having flown more than 65 aircraft as a test pilot, including the legendary SR-71 and U-2. In this key congressionally-mandated post, he also boasts experience with the sausage-making process, having been the Air Force’s Senate liaison.
The other important nominee announced Friday afternoon is Thomas Modly to be Navy undersecretary. He’s head of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global defense practice.
Before that, he was deputy undersecretary for financial management and the first executive director of the Defense Business Board. An Annapolis grad, he’s also tucked under his belt a Harvard MBA. He was a Navy helicopter pilot.
Another intriguing nominations was of R. Sharpley to be the CIA’s Inspector General. Sharpley has been the acting IG since 2015.
Finally, Trump nominated a key ambassador in these days of counterterrorism, the war in Yemen and our competition with China. Larry Andre was picked to be ambassador to Djibouti, home to China’s first and only overseas military base. A career diplomat, he’s coming from Mauritania, where he’s worked closely with the French and with the US military.