WASHINGTON — The White House advanced its nominee for Navy secretary and two other Defense Department officials to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
The nominees — Richard Spencer for Navy secretary, Owen West for assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, and Charles “Cully” Stimson for Navy general counsel — have been formally referred to the SASC. They are expected to receive a committee hearing and approval vote in committee before the full Senate votes on their nominations.
Charles “Cully” Stimson has been senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation since 2007, when he resigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs over controversial remarks in which he criticized lawyers who represent terrorism suspects.
Stimson said at the time he was leaving because of the controversy over a radio interview in which he said he found it shocking that lawyers at many of the nation's top law firms represent detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba, The Washington Post had reported. The comments drew outrage from the legal community and a disavowal from the Defense Department.
Stimson is the commander of the Navy appellate government unit and serves as a captain in the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and as a private equity mergers and acquisitions executive at Marsh & McLennan, a professional services firm.
He would replace the acting general counsel of the Navy, Anne M. Brennan.
On Wednesday, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, told Defense News he hoped the past controversy would not impede Stimson's confirmation.
"He is such a great American and a servant to his country," Spoehr said. "I've never seen a man with more integrity than him and more respect for the system of legal jurisprudence."
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