Trump to appoint Lockheed executive to Pentagon defense policy role

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intent to appoint John Rood, a senior executive at defense contractor Lockheed Martin, as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, a Wednesday, October 11 White House statement said.

Rood’s appointment to the Pentagon’s No. 3 job has be widely expected since July, when Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain said he did not want more nominations of executives from the top five defense contractors – Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman – to key Pentagon posts.

Rood joined Lockheed from another large defense contractor, Raytheon, in 2014, first as vice president of Lockheed Martin Government Affairs, responsible for overseeing business development and government relations activities within the United States. He was then promoted to senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International, where his responsibilities included growing the company’s international business and managing government relations activities.

Earlier in his career, Rood worked for more than 20 years in a variety of federal government roles. He joined the Central Intelligence Agency as a summer intern, and spent eleven years there as a missile development analyst, tracking missile programs in foreign countries.

He then worked as a senior policy adviser to U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican, for four years.

During the tenure of President George W. Bush, Rood returned to federal government positions.

He was appointed Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense at the National Security Council in May 2001, where his policy responsibilities included missile defense and North Korea.

From September 2003 to February 2005, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Policy at the Department of Defense, where he was responsible for policy related to U.S. nuclear and conventional strategic forces, missile defenses, and military space systems.

He was then appointed Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterproliferation Strategy at the National Security Council.

In September 2006, Rood was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, a position he held for a year, when he was then nominated as Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, responsible for policy on missiles, weapons of mass destruction, arms control and export controls.

Rood reportedly played a key role in efforts to install missile interceptors in Poland and radar systems in the Czech Republic, part of a system the administration said was designed to protect against missiles fired by North Korea and Iran. Raytheon provided the missiles’ exoatmospheric kill vehicle, and sensors for the system including early warning radars.

At the end of the Bush presidency, he was hired by Raytheon, where he was vice president for U.S. Business Development, a move criticised as an “example of the revolving door syndrome,” by the Arms Control Association.

Rood’s appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

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