The top staff member for the House Armed Services Committee is leaving for Boeing, multiple sources confirmed to The Hill.
Bob Simmons, the GOP staff director for the committee for the past 12 years, announced Monday that following a transition period he is departing for the private sector.
A person with knowledge of the move said Simmons will no longer perform the duties of staff director effective immediately, but he will not leave for Boeing for roughly a month as he is “wrapping up committee business.”
The person did not know what position Simmons would take at Boeing. The defense firm declined to comment.
Simmons has led the GOP staff since 2005, after being recruited by former Chairman Duncan Hunter Sr. (R-Calif.), but before that ran the San Diego-based aerospace manufacturer Senior Aerospace.
House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a statement that Simmons “has been an outstanding staff director” and he will miss his counsel.
“Bob has served his country with unparalleled energy, honor, and integrity,” Thornberry said. “He has spent every day of the last twelve years working to see that Congress acted — on a bi-partisan basis — to keep our military strong, to care for our men and women in uniform, and to make America safe. He has served his country well and we will miss him.”
Thornberry has named Jenness Simler — currently the Committee’s deputy staff director — to take over Simmons's role, also effective immediately.
Simler has served on the committee staff since 2005, first as a professional staff member and later policy director, according to the statement.
“I have full confidence in Jenness to lead the Committee Staff in the days ahead,” Thornberry said. “Not only does she have a sweeping command of the issues before the Committee, but as the child of a military family, she knows first-hand how our choices affect men and women in uniform.”
The statement also said that Thornberry “has instituted a rigorous transition structure to ensure that no conflict of interest issues arise, in accordance with the Rules of the House, while Simmons completes his service to the Committee.”