This week, President Obama announced his intention to fill three key Department of Defense leadership posts.  The president will nominate Frank Kendall to be the Under Secretary of Defense (USD) for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L), Dr. James Miller to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Erin Conaton to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (P&R).

Kendall has been the acting AT&L chief since Ashton Carter became the Deputy Secretary of Defense in September.  He was appointed as AT&L’s principal deputy in March 2010 and had previously served in DoD from 1982 to 1994 in a number of senior acquisition positions.  His private sector experience includes two years (2008-2010) as Managing Partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, Vice President of Engineering for Raytheon Company, and consultancies in technical and program management.  He is a former member of the Army Science Board and the Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Advisory Board.  Kendall served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1982.

Miller succeeds Michele Flournoy, who will step down as USD(Policy) next month.  He has served as Flournoy’s deputy since April, 2009.  Earlier, Miller served in DoD as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Requirements, Plans, and Counterproliferation Policy from 1997-2000.  He was a Vice President and then Senior Vice President at Hicks and Associates, Inc, an assistant professor at Duke University, and a professional staff member for the House Armed Services Committee from 1988 to 1992.  Miller has also served as an advisor to the Defense Science Board and as a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Conaton replaces Clifford Stanley, who left the USD(P&R) post in October, 2011.  She currently serves as the Under Secretary of the Air Force, a post she began in 2010.  Prior to joining DoD, she was a staff member of the House Armed Services Committee for almost 10 years, serving as Staff Director from 2007 to 2010.  Conaton also served as Research Staff Director for the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission).