Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response

Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response
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Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

THE TOPLINE: Anthony Tata wasn’t able to get a confirmation hearing, but he is getting a senior role at the Pentagon.

In a statement released Sunday night, the Pentagon said Tata was withdrawing from consideration as undersecretary of Defense for policy – and being appointed to perform the duties of the deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy.

That means he’s working in the job just under the one in which he didn’t have enough support to be confirmed.

The White House officially withdrew Tata’s nomination Monday, according to a news release.

James Anderson was confirmed by the Senate in June to be deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy. But he’s been serving as acting undersecretary of Defense for policy, a job he’ll continue to do so Tata can slot in as the acting deputy.

Background: You’ll recall that last week the Senate Armed Services Committee canceled Tata’s confirmation hearing less than a hour before it was set to begin.

Committee Chairman Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection MORE (R-Okla.) said at the time that paperwork came in late and that members on both sides of the aisle had outstanding questions about Tata.

But Democrats had come out fiercely against Tata over resurfaced tweets that called former President Obama a “terrorist leader” and made other inflammatory and racist statements.

At least one Republican had also raised the possibility of opposing Tata, though not over the tweets.

Democrats blast appointment: Democrats on Sunday and Monday blasted Tata’s appointment as circumventing the Senate’s constitutional role to confirm nominees.

“If President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE’s goal is to hollow out, politicize, and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and Intelligence Community, then mission accomplished,” Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police When 'Buy American' and common sense collide MORE (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “This is an offensive, destabilizing move and General Tata should not be appointed to a Senate-confirmed position.”

“This method of appointment is an insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate and the American people,” Reed continued. “Clearly, President Trump wants people who will swear allegiance to him over the Constitution. His hand-picked candidate for this critical position was on the verge of potentially being rejected on the merits. This is a flagrant end run around the confirmation process. The situation is symptomatic of a president who is unraveling and continues to lash out.”

“Our system of checks and balances exists for a reason and the Senate’s role in the confirmation process for administration appointees ensures individuals at the highest levels of government are highly qualified,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Wash.) said in his own statement. “If an appointee cannot gain the support of the Senate, as is clearly the case with Tata, then the president should not put that person into an identical temporary role. This evasion of scrutiny makes our government less accountable and prioritizes loyalty over competence.”

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump taps Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, setting up confirmation sprint Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink MORE (D-W.Va.), a Senate Armed Services member, said Tata’s “withdrawal and lack of support from the Senate serve as clear indicators that this position and its duties should be carried out by a nominee that the Senate can agree on.”

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies John Fogerty: 'Confounding' that Trump campaign played 'Fortunate Son' at rally MORE (D-Ill.), another committee member, called Tata’s new appointment “yet another example of Trump’s politicization of the military.”

“Anthony Tata’s many public statements demonstrate not only a history of Islamophobia and racism, but also an adherence to a number of baseless conspiracy theories. His bigotry and lack of judgement make him a danger in any senior leadership position, much less one that sets the course for our defense policy,” she said in a statement. “I urge the White House to reverse course and remove Tata from this post immediately.”

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Mass.), who last week led a letter calling on Tata to withdraw, blasted Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May MORE and Inhofe for allowing the appointment.

“I demanded Anthony Tata withdraw his nomination to be the Pentagon's #3 official because he’s an Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who is totally unqualified. @EsperDoD put him in the job anyway. Shame on you, Mr. Secretary,” Warren tweeted.

“Tata still has a job at the Pentagon today not in spite of his repugnant statements, but because of them. @JimInhofe & @EsperDoD did Trump's dirty work to avoid an embarrassing hearing and bypass the Senate. Their blind loyalty to Trump puts our national security at risk,” she added in a second tweet.

Inhofe’s defense: In his own brief statement Monday, Inhofe defended Trump's ability to make executive-branch appointments without specifically addressing Tata.

“While I have always stressed the need to have Senate-confirmed leadership in top Pentagon positions, I believe it is within the president’s authority to appoint DoD officials when and as appropriate,” Inhofe said. “These are clearly critical positions within the department where a full bench is needed.”

MARINES, SAILOR KILLED IN TRAINING ACCIDENT ID’D: The Marine Corps on Monday identified the nine service members killed or presumed dead after last week’s amphibious assault vehicle training accident off the coast of Southern California. 

Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a news release.

The Marines said Sunday that seven Marines and one Navy sailor who went missing in the accident are presumed dead.

On Monday, the seven Marines were identified as Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, Calif.; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, Calif.; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wis.; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Ore.; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Ore.; and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, Calif. 

The sailor was identified as U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, Calif.

Esper's condolences: Defense Secretary Mark Esper released a statement Monday expressing grief at the deaths.

“A grateful nation and the Department of Defense grieves the tragic loss of the Marines and Sailor lost in the amphibious assault vehicle accident off the coast of San Clemente Island. Our prayers and condolences are with the family and friends of these brave young men,” Esper said, listing the names of those killed.

“Their service, commitment and courage will always be remembered by the nation they served,” he added. “While the incident remains under investigation, I want to assure our service members and their families that we are committed to gathering all the facts, understanding exactly how this incident occurred and preventing similar tragedies in the future.”

GOVERNORS URGE EXTENSION OF NATIONAL GUARD FUNDING: The National Governors Association (NGA) on Monday called on Trump to extend federal funding for National Guard forces being used to respond to the coronavirus, warning that they need certainty on the issue.

The federal funding and benefits for the National Guard members helping states across the country operate testing sites, distribute food and medical supplies, and other tasks, is set to expire on Aug. 21.

Governors are warning that they have to start transitioning the forces to state control and funding well ahead of that deadline, though, disrupting planning for the coronavirus response. 

“While we appreciate the Administration’s support over the past few months, short-term extensions and last-minute authorizations are adversely impacting and disrupting state plans and operations,” the NGA, which represents governors in both parties, said in a press release on Monday. 

The NGA called on Trump to extend the federal funding and benefits, known as Title 32 authority, without delay. 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for John Whitley
to be director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Shon Manasco to be under secretary of the Air Force, Michele Pearce to be general counsel of the Department of the Army and Liam Hardy to be a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces at 9 a.m. https://bit.ly/3i8upJ3

Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and other defense officials will speak at virtual 2020 Space and Missile Defense Symposium starting at 9:15 a.m. https://bit.ly/318m8h6

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the security and humanitarian situation in Venezuela at 10 a.m. https://bit.ly/30m5NX8

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission at 2:30 p.m. https://bit.ly/2PnF6Lg

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Navy SEALs investigating videos showing dogs attacking 'Colin Kaepernick stand-in' at fundraiser

-- The Hill: Democrats subpoena top aides to Pompeo

-- Military.com: Military leaders are confronting a new form of discrimination: pregnancy bias

-- Air Force Times: ‘Be a bro’: How a commander’s sexism derailed this pilot training class — and brought down AETC leaders

-- Washington Post: A defense contractor died after a bar fight with Marines, and some see a crime. Others see an accident and overzealous prosecution.

-- Reuters: Hundreds of prisoners flee before Afghan forces end Islamic State jail siege