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The next White House Press Secretary is a Navy officer

December 22, 2016 (Photo Credit: Cliff Owen/AP)
The next White House press secretary will be a Navy commander with 17 years experience in the reserves, President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday.

Sean Spicer, currently the Republican Party communications chief, was named the chief spokesman for Trump’s administration as part of a series of appointments to the incoming commander-in-chief’s communications team.

The move is a natural transition for Spicer, who has been among the most visible surrogates for Trump in recent months, and one of the main contacts for press during the transition.

The 45-year-old Rhode Island native previously worked as a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during George W. Bush’s presidency and in various Republican posts prior to that. His new role will be the most prominent of his career, handling the sometimes contentious White House press room on behalf of an unconventional politician.

His military career as a public affairs officer includes a master's degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, and he is currently assigned to the Joint Staff’s naval reserve contingent in Washington, D.C.

It’s unclear how that role may change based on his new, high-profile assignment.

In the past, Spicer has worked as a media planner in joint exercises in Guam, Germany and Sweden, along with overseeing media coverage of Navy operations in at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Trump’s incoming administration has taken on a distinctly military character in recent  weeks, with a number of high-level assignments going to veterans.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is a retired Army lieutenant general. Defense secretary nominee James Mattis and ​Homeland Security secretary nominee John Kelly are both retired Marine Corps generals.

Trump’s pick for attorney general is Army veteran Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., his pick for Energy secretary is Air Force veteran former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and his pick for Interior secretary is Navy veteran Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.

In addition, incoming White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon served in the Navy and Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Mike Pompeio, is an Army veteran.


Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at


David Larter covers Navy policy and operations for Navy Times. He can be reached at

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