Darts and Laurels

October 31, 2013  

Underqualified undersecretary

AFJ_dartDART to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for nominating Jo Ann Rooney to be his undersecretary.

Perhaps there have been Navy undersecretaries with less naval experience than Ms. Rooney, who is less than two years into her first defense-related job, principal deputy defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness. Perhaps she suffers in comparison to her predecessor, Robert Work, who arrived with decades of well-respected work on Navy Department issues, including a thorough understanding of naval shipbuilding. But Ms. Rooney, a former president of two small colleges, showed herself out of her depth even in her area of purported strength — personnel issues — at her recent confirmation hearing. In a time of budgetary uncertainty and strategic flux, the Navy needs to do better.