Biden expected to tap former Obama official as top arms buyer - sources




  • In US
  • 2021-11-30 15:10:55Z
  • By Reuters
 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to nominate on Tuesday a former Obama official who oversaw the acquisition of the F-35 fighter, the troubled KC-46 tanker and the B-21 stealth bomber to be the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, according to sources familiar with the selection.

Bill LaPlante, the current head of Charles Stark Draper Laboratories Inc., is the Biden administration's pick to be the next Undersecretary of Acquisition and Sustainment at the Department of Defense, according to a White House official, three industry executives and a senior defense official.

His nomination process will be closely watched by defense contractors given the vital role the official will have in choosing how the Pentagon's massive annual purchasing budget is spent. If confirmed, LaPlante would rejoin a team of former Barack Obama administration alumni, including current Deputy Secretary of Defense Kath Hicks, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall as well as Andrew Hunter, Biden's nominee for assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Alexandra Alper, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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