Trump taps Vin­cent Vi­ola as Army sec­re­tary

Florida Pan­thers owner is vet­eran, grad­u­ated from West Point.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump on Mon­day tapped an­other mil­i­tary vet­eran, who also is a bil­lion­aire, to serve in a top-level ad­min­is­tra­tion post, nam­ing trad­ing com­pany ex­ec­u­tive and for­mer Army of­fi­cer Vin­cent Vi­ola as his pick to serve as the next sec­re­tary of the Army.

Mr. Trump said the Amer­i­can peo­ple, “whether civil­ian or mil­i­tary,” should have great con­fi­dence in Mr. Vi­ola’s abil­ity to do the job.

Mr. Vi­ola, who owns the Florida Pan­thers hockey fran­chise, is the founder of the trad­ing com­pany Virtu Fi­nan­cial, and has also served as chair­man of the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change.

He grad­u­ated from West Point and was later com­mis­sioned as a sec­ond lieu­tenant in the U.S. Army, also serv­ing in the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion. Af­ter the Sept. 11, 2001, at­tacks, he helped form the Com­bat­ing Ter­ror­ism Cen­ter at West Point.

“If con­firmed, I will work tire­lessly to pro­vide our pres­i­dent with the land force he will need to ac­com­plish any mis­sion in sup­port of his Na­tional De­fense Strat­egy,” he said. “A pri­mary fo­cus of my lead­er­ship will be en­sur­ing that Amer­ica’s sol­diers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spec­trum of con­flict.”

Mr. Vi­ola’s name is part of a grow­ing list of top ad­min­is­tra­tion nom­i­nees with direct mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ence. Mr. Trump has al­ready named re­tired Ma­rine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis as his pick for sec­re­tary of de­fense and re­tired Ma­rine Gen. John F. Kelly as his pick to run the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity.

Mr. Trump has also named re­tired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser and Navy vet­eran Stephen K. Ban­non as his top strate­gist. Un­like other ad­min­is­tra­tion po­si­tions, those two will not re­quire Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illi­nois Repub­li­can, said peo­ple with mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ence are uniquely qual­i­fied to make de­ci­sions about mat­ters like de­fense.

“We know where, for lack of a bet­ter term, the skele­tons are buried, for in­stance in the Pen­tagon,” said Mr. Kinzinger, who served in the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We know where there’s in­ef­fi­cien­cies.”

Rep. Seth Moul­ton, who served in Iraq as a Ma­rine Corps in­fantry of­fi­cer, said Mr. Vi­ola ap­peared to have an “im­pres­sive” ca­reer in busi­ness in ad­di­tion to his mil­i­tary his­tory, but that Mr. Trump’s Cab­i­net is al­ready look­ing pretty ho­moge­nous.

“There’s a lot of gen­er­als. I value the in­put of gen­er­als, but you can’t have a Cab­i­net that all looks the same, that’s al­most all white, that’s al­most all men, and is 90 per­cent mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires,” Mr. Moul­ton, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat, said on CNN.

Mr. Trump has also named ExxonMo­bil CEO Rex Tiller­son as his pick for sec­re­tary of state, and fi­nanciers Steven Mnuchin and Wil­bur Ross to lead the trea­sury and com­merce de­part­ments, re­spec­tively.

Mr. Trump has also named Rep. Ryan K. Zinke of Mon­tana, a re­tired Navy SEAL, as his in­te­rior sec­re­tary pick. For­mer Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once a pi­lot in the Air Force, is Mr. Trump’s pick for sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of En­ergy, and Rep. Mike Pom­peo, a for­mer Army of­fi­cer, is in line to be­come the next CIA di­rec­tor.

Gen. Mat­tis will re­quire a change in the law to al­low him to serve as sec­re­tary of de­fense. Cur­rent law re­quires some­one to have been re­tired from the mil­i­tary for at least seven years be­fore as­sum­ing the top Pen­tagon post as a way of en­sur­ing civil­ian con­trol of the mil­i­tary.

As part of a year-end spend­ing bill, Congress has ap­proved a stream­lined ap­proach for chang­ing that law early next year.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump has tapped Army vet­eran and bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man Vin­cent Vi­ola as his nom­i­nee for sec­re­tary of the Army.

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