Trump nominates retired army brigadier general to a top job at Pentagon

Anthony Tata also occasional Fox News commentator

President Donald Trump  proposes a reduced troop presence in Afghanistan.  Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

President Donald Trump proposes a reduced troop presence in Afghanistan. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

 

US President Donald Trump has nominated Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier general and occasional Fox News commentator, to a top job at the Pentagon as he eyes a reduced troop presence in Afghanistan and escalating tensions from China to Iran.

The White House announced his nomination as undersecretary of defence for policy yesterday. The announcement cited his “extensive uniformed service”.

Tata, a West Point graduate who retired from the army in 2009 after 28 years on active duty, has publicly advocated for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan and Syria and replacing them with private contractors – a controversial view in the eyes of many military and policy professionals.

“History supports presidential auhtorisation for the use of private military contractors during transition operations to help the US and its allies achieve strategic aims,” Tata and private security mogul Erik Prince wrote in a 2019 piece published by FoxNews.com. “Now is the time to begin the transition, secure our vital interests, and husband our precious resources.”

Tata, who was deputy commanding general of US forces in Afghanistan from 2006-2007, would replace John Rood at the defence department if confirmed by the Senate.

Rood was ousted in February after playing a minor but important role in Trump’s impeachment saga. Rood certified to Congress last May that Ukraine was eligible to receive $250 million in security assistance, aid that was later temporarily blocked by the White House.

Since the president asked him to take the job, Tata divested from his company, Tata Leadership Group, a business leadership development consultancy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

He was granted a top secret clearance last year as part of his private sector work and it has since been updated to a top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance, the person said.

Since his retirement from the Army in 2009, Tata has served as the secretary of North Carolina’s transportation department, the chief operations officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools and the superintendent of the Wake County public schools system in North Carolina.

He is also the author of several thrillers. – Bloomberg