DoD Buzz

Sources: Obama to Name Mabus for SecNav; Work for UnderSec

Updated: Robert Work, the respected strategy and naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, will be nominated as undersecretary of the Navy. Work is the first Obama appointment with clear links to Richard Danzig, former Navy secretary and advisor to the Obama campaign. Work, a former Marine, served as military assistant and senior aide to Danzig.

One of the most interesting aspects of Work's background is that he is one of Andy Marshall's acolytes, having directed and analyzed war games for Marshall's Office of Net Assessment.

President Obama is expected to nominate Amb. Ray Mabus to be the next secretary of the Navy, sources tell DoD Buzz.

On Friday, former Navy Secretary Donald Winter resigned as planned, telling Sailors and Marines he was “blessed for having had the opportunity to serve as your secretary” and adding that “no period in my professional life can compare to the experiences that I have had in this position,” according to a Navy release.

According to well-placed sources not affiliated with the Obama administration, Mabus -- a former Democrat governor of Mississippi and the ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996 -- has passed vetting from Pentagon chief Robert Gates’ office and the administration has informed leaders on Capitol Hill of the nomination.

Winter agreed to extend his term to help the Obama administration’s transition until March 13. Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and the Environment B.J. Penn will serve until Mabus -- or an alternative -- is confirmed by the Senate.

Mabus, who announced his support for then presidential-candidate Barack Obama in the spring of 2007, was also in the running to be SecNav during the Clinton administration, but lost out to John Dalton, a former banker from Little Rock, Ark., and submariner in the mid-1960s, a source tells DoD Buzz.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell declined to comment on the potential nomination, saying he would not talk about personnel matters before an announcement from the Obama administration.

A native of Ackerman, Miss., Mabus runs a consulting company called REM Strategies and is a member of the Council on Foreign relations and the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and obtained a law degree from Harvard. Calls to his office and home were not returned by post time.

According to reports, Mabus served as an unpaid advisor on Middle East issues to the Obama presidential campaign and was thought to be in the running for Secretary of Education. Associate Editor Bryant Jordan and Colin Clark, editor of DoDBuzz, contributed to this report.

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