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Trump likely to tap business executive to head Navy: report

Trump likely to tap business executive to head Navy: report
© Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE is likely to choose an international financier as secretary of the Navy, Foreign Policy magazine reported Friday.

Philip Bilden, a former Hong Kong-based executive with private equity firm HarbourVest, has apparently emerged as the top contender for the Navy’s highest civilian post, according to the report.

Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesDaschle Group hires first GOP lobbyist Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie's resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon board Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon advisory panel MORE (R-Va.) has long been considered the front-runner to head the Navy. Forbes served as a military adviser to Trump’s campaign and was a major force behind the president-elect’s campaign promise to make more investments in the Navy.

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Bilden’s nomination could upend Forbes’s consideration and instead install a secretary who is relatively unknown among the foreign policy community.

But Foreign Policy noted that Bilden has ties to top Trump appointees, including retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Trump's pick for Defense secretary, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser.

Bilden has no formal experience in the military or in government, but has worked extensively in Asia.

According to an online biography, he moved to Hong Kong in 1996 to head up HarbourVest’s Asian branch. He also serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Business School’s Asia Pacific Advisory Board.

If Trump picks Bilden for Navy secretary, it will add another business executive to the president-elect’s list of appointments. Last month, Trump chose billionaire businessman and National Hockey League team owner Vincent Viola, a former infantry officer, as secretary of the Army.