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Rooney Nominated as Navy Undersecretary

Sep. 11, 2013 - 05:17PM   |  
Jo Ann Rooney has been nominated to be the next Navy undersecretary.
Jo Ann Rooney has been nominated to be the next Navy undersecretary. (Defense News)
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WASHINGTON — Jo Ann Rooney, a former university president and Massachusetts financial attorney with two years’ experience in the Pentagon, has been nominated to become undersecretary of the Navy, the No. 2 position in the Navy Department.

If confirmed by the Senate, Rooney would succeed Bob Work, who resigned in the spring to return to private life.

The announcement of the nomination came Wednesday from the White House.

Rooney serves as the principal deputy defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness, a post she took up in June 2011. In her time at the Pentagon, she held that job in an acting capacity for almost seven and a half months, from November 2011 to June 8, 2012. This was her first experience with the military and government.

According to her bio, Rooney was president of Mount Ida College, a small, private college in Newton, Mass., just outside Boston, with a student body of about 1,300 prior to coming to Washington. She held that position from July 2010 until December 2010

From 2002 to 2010, Rooney was president of Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., a private school with an enrollment of about 2,000 students established in 1814 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

From 1996 to 2002, according to the Pentagon bio, Rooney served as chief counsel, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and partner of The Lyons Companies in Waltham, Mass. That firm maintained a national practice specializing in estate planning, capital advising, charitable planning, executive compensation, business succession planning, and benefits planning and administration for corporations, individuals and nonprofit organizations.

Prior to the Lyons Companies, she practiced tax law in the Boston area, and is a member of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and American bar associations.

Robert Martinage, the deputy Navy undersecretary for plans, policy, oversight and integration, has been serving as the acting undersecretary since Work left office in May.

Work established a reputation as one of the most engaged and active undersecretaries in recent years. After experience as a Marine artillery officer, he rose to prominence in the 2000s as a top naval analyst. He now serves as the chief executive officer for the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.

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