Michelle Howard, retired admiral, named to Biden Pentagon transition team


The first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship and the first woman to achieve four-star rank in the Navy has been appointed to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to the Department of Defense.

Retired Admiral Michelle Howard joins more than 20 others making up the “Agency Review Team” for the Pentagon. According to Biden officials, they will be responsible for reviewing current operations in the Department of Defense in order to ensure a “smooth transfer of power.”

The team will be led by Kathleen Hicks, currently director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ms. Hicks earlier served as undersecretary of defense for policy in the Obama Administration.

Most of the members of the Pentagon transition team are women and Washington, D.C. think tanks like Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the RAND Corporation are well represented on the list. CNAS official Ely Ratner – also on the list – was Mr. Biden’s deputy national security advisor from 2015-2017.

Retired Admiral Howard’s last assignment was commander of U.S. Naval Force in Europe. She had previously served as the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. She retired in 2017 after more than 30 years of service and is currently a professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

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