As KT noted earlier, former State Representative and Commander in U.S. Navy Juan Garcia has been tapped by President Barack Obama to become the next Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
Since Garcia will be the second Texan to be nominated for a Senate confirmable position (Ron Kirk was the first), there should some dissemination what this position involves, and how Garcia fits.
This is a position rich in history. Previous individuals who have served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy include Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and more recently the current U.S. Senator for Virginia, James Webb. On a bit of side note, famous Texans who have held Presidential Pentagon appointments include former governors John Connally, who served as Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), and Bill Clements, who served as US Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Pres. Obama has 487 Senate approved positions to fill. So far, the average age of Obama’s appointees is 52. Garcia is only 42 years old. The Washington Post has a great appointees tracking page. Juan is a graduate of UCLA, Harvard Law School (where he met Barack Obama), John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and served as a White House Fellow. Garcia has accomplished a lot in his young life and I know we expect a great deal more from this rising Texas star.
The Navy Department has approximately 330,000 naval personnel, 202,000 Marines, and a civilian workforce as well. If confirmed, Garcia will oversee the office responsible for recruiting, developing, and retaining Navy and Marine Corps personnel to ensure that the country has a naval force capable of supporting the U.S.'s overall military global operations.
There had been rumors that Garcia was going to be selected for SECNAV (former Mississippi Governor and Clinton Ambassador Ray Mabus has been nominated) but federal law prevents an appointment to Secretary of the Navy for any one who has been off active duty less than five years. Garcia left the active-duty Navy in October of 2004 and continues to fly as an instructor pilot in the Naval Reserve. He is currently the Commanding Officer of Naval Reserve Training Squadron 28 at NAS Corpus Christi. His father, Captain Juan Garcia, a native of Robstown, Texas, is a retired naval aviator, and his younger brother, Lieutenant Junior Grade Mike Garcia, is a naval aviator currently serving oversea.
This a gross oversimplification of the process but these are the following hoops you have to jump through be confirmed: initial vetting by the White House, POTUS announces an intent to nominate, the U.S. Senate receives an official communication from the White House of the nomination, the U.S. Senate conducts confirmation hearings and approves the nomination and then the nominee gets sworn in. For this position, Garcia’s appointment goes before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee chaired by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), with ranking members Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA).
I think this is great for Texas. I am happy to see one our best and brightest nominated to serve in Obama’s administration. I look forward to watching his career in Washington D.C. but I know his home is always going to be here in Texas.