Senate confirms ex-Lockheed exec for top Pentagon policy role
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Lockheed Martin executive John Rood to be under secretary of Defense for policy.
Lawmakers voted 81-7, with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) voting no.
Rood, previously the senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International, served in several roles during the George W. Bush administration. He will now take the Pentagon‘s top policy job, after the White House in October named him for the position.
The confirmation process wasn’t without its hurdles. Some lawmakers in November had expressed concern over Rood’s future interactions with his former company.
Rood had signed a White House ethics pledge to recuse himself from all decisions involving Lockheed for two years and divest himself from the defense contractor. But he would not confirm to Warren that he would not seek a waiver that would allow him to participate in matters involving the defense contractor as under secretary.
“Will you commit not to seek such a waiver during your time in office?” Warren asked him during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Rood declined multiple times to say “yes” or “no.” Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused Rood of “ducking the answer here.”
The exchange was not enough to bar Rood from the policy position, as the Senate Armed Services Committee approved his nomination in late November.