Hunt Is Back On for New SECNAV
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the next secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) has withdrawn his name from consideration, the Defense Department announced in a Feb. 26 release. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that he would soon recommend another potential SECNAV.
Philip Bilden had been tapped to succeed Ray Mabus and become the 76th SECNAV, but withdrew for personal concerns.
Mattis issued the following statement announcing the withdrawal: “Mr. Philip Bilden has informed me that he has come to the difficult decision to withdraw from consideration to be secretary of the Navy. This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests. While I am disappointed, I understand and his respect his decision, and know that he will continue to support our nation in other ways. In the coming days I will make a recommendation to President Trump for a leader who can guide our Navy and Marine Corps team as we execute the president’s vision to rebuild our military.”
Bilden became the second service secretary nominee to withdraw from consideration by the Trump administration. The nominee for secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, withdrew from consideration on Feb. 3, citing similar difficulties of divesting himself from financial arrangements that would conflict with government ethics rules.
A former Virginia congressman once in the running for the SECNAV nomination, Randy Forbes, former chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, recently was appointed Naval War College Foundation Senior Distinguished Fellow at U.S. Naval War College (NWC). He joined the faculty of the school in Newport, R.I., effective in this month, the NWC said in a Feb. 14 release.