WASHINGTON ― Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday swore in the newest assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security, Ely Ratner, who is one of the latest of President Joe Biden’s Pentagon nominees to receive Senate approval.

Ratner, a former deputy national security adviser to Biden who’s been leading the Pentagon’s China Task Force, was sworn in aboard an Air Force E-4B on Austin’s trip to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Senate confirmed Ratner and the following Pentagon nominations by unanimous consent on July 22. The move represents partial progress, as a number of national security nominees were being held by Republican and Democratic senators.

  • Heidi Shyu, to be undersecretary of defense for research and engineering
  • Shawn Skelly, to be an assistant secretary of defense
  • Meredith Berger, to be assistant Navy secretary
  • Gina Ortiz Jones, to be undersecretary of the Air Force
  • Caroline Krass, to be Pentagon general counsel

“These deeply qualified public servants represent decades of combined expertise and leadership in national security and defense policy, and I am grateful for their willingness to serve the country at this critical time,” Austin said in a statement over the weekend.

“As we embark on my second trip to the Indo-Pacific, I am delighted for the opportunity to administer the oath to Ely aboard the aircraft. His experience and acumen will prove essential as we work to strengthen our powerful network of allies and partners in the region.”

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

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