Saturday, Jan 10, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening the influence of lobbyists in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country’s biggest defense contractors to be his deputy secretary of defense.
Obama’s transition office announced that William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense in President Bill Clinton’s second term, is nominated to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ deputy.
Lynn is currently a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts and is the maker of the Army’s Patriot Missile system and the Tomahawk missile used by the Navy. The company is also developing a global positioning satellite communication system with the Air Force.
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As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.
Obama’s transition office acknowledged that appointing a lobbyist did not, on the face of it, seem in line with the president-elect’s ethics stance but that Lynn’s qualifications and the recommendations that came from both Republicans and Democrats made him the top candidate.
“Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position,” said Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.