Biden to nominate Del Toro as Navy secretary

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President Joe Biden intends to nominate Carlos Del Toro, CEO of a tech solutions company and a Cuban-born Navy veteran, to be Navy secretary. The White House plans to make the announcement on Friday, according to two people with direct knowledge.

Del Toro completed the vetting process last week, according to one of the people. If confirmed by the Senate, Del Toro would be the second Latino person to serve as Navy secretary.

The White House has been considering Del Toro, president and CEO of contractor SBG Technology Solutions and president of the White House Fellows Foundation, for the job since at least April, POLITICO first reported.

The White House and Defense Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Del Toro was born in Havana, immigrated to the U.S. in 1962 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983. His service includes a tour in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm.

A resident of northern Virginia, Del Toro’s backers include Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a Navy booster.

The Biden administration considered several candidates for the post, including Juan Garcia, a former Texas state legislator and head of Navy manpower and reserve issues during the Obama administration. Former Navy Undersecretary Janine Davidson and former Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska were also in the mix for the job, though both withdrew from consideration.

The nomination is the third and final of Biden’s picks for civilian service secretary posts.

The Senate last month confirmed Christine Wormuth to be Army secretary, making her the first woman to hold the post.

Biden has also tapped Frank Kendall, a longtime acquisition official, to be Air Force secretary. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved Kendall on Thursday and he awaits confirmation from the full Senate.

Navy boosters on Capitol Hill have been pushing the White House to name a civilian Navy leader as the military services begin to sell the administration’s budget to Congress.

De Toro would enter the Pentagon at a transformational moment for the Navy, which is struggling to align flat budgets with a modernization plan that calls for new classes of nuclear-powered submarines, a new 6th-generation fighter and new frigates and destroyers.

The Navy is also working on building a fleet of unmanned ships that can act as surveillance vessels and missile launchers, an effort meant to bolster the fleet in order to meet Chinese naval expansion.

All of these programs require up front investments and research development dollars that compete with massive shipbuilding costs and billions in baked-in maintenance funding for existing ships, many of which were built in the 1980s and ‘90s.

The Navy has also struggled to build a workable shipbuilding blueprint, and is expected to release its 30-year shipbuilding plan in the coming days.

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