Senate committee approves Pentagon nominee despite Lockheed connections

Senate committee approves Pentagon nominee despite Lockheed connections
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The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday moved forward a top Defense Department nominee, despite questions earlier this month about potential conflicts of interest with his prior employer. 

The committee voted to send to the full Senate Lockheed Martin International senior vice president John Rood, who's on track to be the next undersecretary of Defense for policy, as well as Randall Schriver, to be the assistant secretary for Asian-Pacific affairs. 

Rood drew the ire of committee members at his nomination hearing on Nov. 16 when he would not confirm to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that he would not seek a waiver that would allow him to participate in matters involving Lockheed in his new role.

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When pressed by Warren on whether he would commit not to seek such a waiver, Rood would not rule it out.

After a brief back-and-forth, Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) grew frustrated with Rood’s replies, accused him of ducking the inquiry and suggested he “answer the question or you're going to have trouble getting through this committee.”

McCain added that he would give Rood the question in writing. Rood's written response was not immediately available, but seemed to satisfy the committee enough to push forward his nomination.

The White House in October named Rood to take over the top Pentagon policy position. Should he be confirmed by the full Senate, he would be one of five undersecretaries that fall directly under Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump's 'Enemies List' — end of year edition The US can't go back to business as usual with Pakistan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike MORE.