WASHINGTON -- David Norquist was confirmed late Tuesday as the 34th deputy defense secretary by voice vote of the full Senate, as the upper chamber of Congress continues its spree of Defense Department appointments to fill several key leadership vacancies at the Pentagon.
Norquist has been performing the duties of deputy defense secretary since January when his predecessor, Patrick Shanahan, became the acting defense secretary. Norquist also has been serving as the Pentagon's chief financial officer since 2017. Shanahan resigned in June. After Defense Secretary Mark Esper was sworn in last week, he delegated the duties of deputy secretary to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer while Norquist went through the confirmation process.
With Norquist's confirmation secured, his deputy, Elaine McCusker, is expected to assume the role of acting comptroller until President Donald Trump nominates someone for the position.
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee voiced support during a hearing last week of Norquist's nomination and confirmation, including Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the committee, who said he might be the wrong person to be chairman of the hearing because he had already decided to support Norquist.
"In fact, I remember telling the president a long time ago it doesn't matter who ends up being secretary of defense, so long as you have Norquist in there to help," he said.