The Trump administration is, apparently, set to announce that they will nominate Richard Spencer for the position of Secretary of the Navy (SecNav). Mr. Spencer is a former Marine Captain (1976 – 1981) and has since held various positions in the private financial sector mostly dealing with venture capital and investments along with serving on some military advisory boards. Some reports indicate that he was a Marine aviator though I haven’t been able to confirm that and his short service time may indicate otherwise. Helo pilot, maybe?
In any event, his nomination would be curious. A Marine with limited service time and a private sector financial background seems like a weak resume, on the surface, for the position of Secretary of the Navy. At this point, let me say that I know nothing about Mr. Spencer other than what I’ve just described. He may be an outstanding candidate. This post is not about his suitability for the job but, rather, the seeming oddity of choosing someone with such an apparently marginally relevant background given the tens of thousands of former Navy people out there.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a former Admiral because, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I think Admirals, serving or retired, are worthless. Surely, though, there must be some mid-level former Navy personnel who served for an extended period, have a good understanding of naval matters, and have a private background in something a bit more relevant such as technology, defense, electronics, computers, business management, etc.
I’m also not against a non-Navy person who has a strong management background in a large organization. After all, the Navy is a large bureaucratic organization and an experienced, outside person who could cut through the traditional Navy games would be an invaluable asset in the SecNav position.
The point is that there must be thousands of people with better qualifications for the SecNav position. This choice seems odd. I’ll be curious to learn more about Mr. Spencer.