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  • Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency: Who Is Nancy A. Norton?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018
    After serving as chief of Naval operations strategic studies group fellow in Newport, Rhode Island, Norton was promoted in 2013 to rear admiral and named director for command, control, communications and cyber for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. She was transferred to the Pentagon in 2015 as director of the Warfare Integration Directorate in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Norton was named vice director of DISA in 2017 in preparation for taking over as the agency’s director.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Who Is Kimberly Breier?

    Monday, April 16, 2018
    In 2007, Breier became the senior political analyst for a “key Middle Eastern country” until 2009, when she was promoted to manager and worked on creating and running what she describes as “the first-ever analytic tradecraft team covering a high-profile country in the Middle East.” Breier left government service in 2012 to work for the consulting firm Peschard-Sverdrup International, where she performed country risk assessments on Latin American countries for three mining companies.   read more
  • Commissioner of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Mark Schultz?

    Sunday, April 15, 2018
    Schultz spent 20 years as director of the Assistive Technology Partnership, a Nebraska agency that helps the disabled use technology to improve their lives. He also was a barrier-free design specialist for the League of Human Dignity. Schultz was with Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation beginning in 2008, first as associate director and since October 2009 as director. More recently, he was named deputy commissioner in the Nebraska Department of Education.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Colombia: Who Is Joseph Macmanus?

    Friday, April 13, 2018
    In 2012, Macmanus was named permanent representative to the UN mission in Vienna and to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There, he participated in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal. During a 2013 negotiating session, Iran accused Israel of genocide. Macmanus, along with representatives of Canada and Australia, stormed out of the session in protest. But after the agreement was finalized, Secretary of State John Kerry named Macmanus to coordinate implementation of the deal with Iran.   read more
  • Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation: Who Is Robert Alvaro?

    Thursday, April 12, 2018
    Alvaro has spent his entire career in the U.S. Army, first in the infantry and later as a foreign area officer, rising to the rank of colonel. He has served as battalion logistical officer, company executive officer, and rifle platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York; as plans officer in the Second Infantry Division in South Korea; and as division G3 readiness officer and company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.   read more
  • Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Who Is Jon Parrish Peede?

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018
    Despite proposing last year to abolish the agency altogether, Trump recently named Peede as new chair for the NEH, the largest funder of humanities-related activities in the U.S. Peede’s first public service experience was at the NEA, the NEH’s sister institution, from 2003 to 2011. He served as counselor to its chair, director of the Big Read program and director of Operation Homecoming, which helped war veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq write about their experiences.   read more
  • Bots Overwhelm Humans in Spreading News on Twitter

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018
    Pew reported that 500 active bots were responsible for 22% of tweeted links to news and current event pages. Active human users, meanwhile, were responsible for just 6% of tweeted links from popular news sites. Lately, bots have become inextricably tied to the spread of “fake news” and synonymous with interference in the 2016 presidential election and the sowing of partisan divides. Twitter estimated that 1.4 million users engaged with Russian propaganda through postings on its platform.   read more
  • Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Who Is Robert Redfield Jr.?

    Monday, April 09, 2018
    In the 1980s, Redfield championed a policy under which service members were tested for HIV. Those who tested positive were segregated from other service members and treated like prisoners, with some dishonorably discharged. “What one wants in a director of the CDC is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity,” said CSPI's Peter Lurie. “What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda."   read more
  • Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board: Who Is Ann Begeman?

    Sunday, April 08, 2018
    An assistant to then-Sen. Larry Pressler, Begeman followed Pressler, in 1995, to the Senate Commerce Committee when Pressler took over as its chairman. She worked there as a staffer, then became the deputy staff director before leaving in 2004 for the staff of Sen. John McCain. Begeman served as his legislative director and acting chief of staff, and she took a leave to work as a campaign spokesman during McCain’s unsuccessful 2008 run for the presidency.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Foreign Missions: Who Is Stephen Akard?

    Friday, April 06, 2018
    Akard was tapped in 2017 to join the Trump team in the State Dept. He was later nominated to be director general of the Foreign Service, a job traditionally given to those with long years of State Dept service. Akard’s nomination drew fierce criticism from current and former members of the Foreign Service. The job requires Foreign Service experience to keep it from being politicized. The nomination was withdrawn the day after Akard was nominated to lead the Office of Foreign Missions.   read more
  • Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: Who Is Aimee Jorjani?

    Wednesday, April 04, 2018
    Upon graduating from Northern Michigan University in 1999, Jorjani went right into government with a job as a legislative aide to Rep. Paul Ryan. She moved to the Interior Dept and soon became special assistant for historic preservation there. As the Bush administration was winding down, Jorjani went to work for the non-profit Preservation Action, a group that lobbies on preservation issues. Since earning her M.A. degree in 2012, she has been an independent preservation consultant.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): Who Is Steven H. Walker?

    Tuesday, April 03, 2018
    In 1997, Walker became program manager for the Unsteady Aerodynamics and Hypersonics Research Program at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He was named special assistant to the director of defense research and engineering at the Pentagon in 2001. Walker then moved to DARPA as program manager in the Tactical Technology Office, working on the Falcon hypersonic program, with the goal of creating a platform that would deliver a weapon anywhere in the world in about two hours.   read more
  • Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration: Who Is Paul R. Lawrence?

    Monday, April 02, 2018
    In Lawrence, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a permanent undersecretary for benefits for the first time since 2015. After more than 15 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lawrence became something of a job-hopper, working as a vice president with IBM Business Consulting Services, as a senior director with the MITRE Corporation, and as a vice president with Accenture. In all these positions, Lawrence provided consulting services to government leaders and agencies.   read more
  • Chair of the National Council on Disability: Who Is Neil Romano?

    Sunday, April 01, 2018
    After working as executive director of the Republican Party in Monmouth County, in 1984 Romano, although only 29 years old, gained the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives in a heavily Democratic district and was defeated by incumbent Robert Torricelli. Much later, Romano explained, “I ran only because it was a huge stage. All I wanted to talk about was drugs, and drug abuse, and the devastation it had on the American family.'”   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Johnny Collett?

    Friday, March 30, 2018
    Collett initially followed his father into the ministry and served as a pastor for about ten years. He then taught public high school for eight years. In 2008, Collett joined the Kentucky Dept of Education, first as an exceptional children consultant, then as an assistant division director and finally as state director for special education. He left Kentucky in 2015 for the Council of Chief State School Officers, where he served as its program director for special education outcomes.   read more
  • U.S. Has Special Forces in 149 Countries and Ambassadors in 144

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018
    Under Trump, the U.S. State Dept. has been gutted – with the departure of many high-level career diplomats and a proposed budget drop of 29%. Without diplomats to guide our military, we are left with an accelerating vicious cycle – the more “bad guys” we kill abroad, the more we have to kill. An increasing number of those we pre-emptively kill, instead of bargaining with, will be either civilians or heroes in their own countries. Martyring them guarantees the loss of future American lives.   read more
  • Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Andrei Iancu?

    Monday, March 26, 2018
    An attorney whose firm once represented Donald Trump, Mark Burnett Prodns, and NBC Universal in a copyright case concerning Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice,” is now director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and under secretary of commerce for intellectual property. Iancu has served on the board of directors of Sinai Temple, the oldest and largest Conservative Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, and also been a member of the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee since 2010.   read more
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