Fletcher in the News

Erin Conaton (F95) Appointed to Key U.S. Defense Department Post

Panetta Welcomes Senate-confirmed Leaders to Pentagon

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today formally welcomed three recently Senate-confirmed leaders to the Defense Department as undersecretaries of defense during a Pentagon ceremony.

Panetta introduced Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, who was confirmed May 24; James N. Miller, undersecretary of defense for policy, confirmed May 25; and Erin C. Conaton, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, confirmed June 8.

“It’s a little odd, frankly, to have a ceremony welcoming these people into the Pentagon family,” Panetta said. “It’s a little bit like ‘Uncle’ Frank, ‘Uncle’ Jim [and] ‘Aunt’ Erin -- welcoming them to a family that they’re already part of. And they very much are a part of this family.”

Panetta described Conaton’s job as a “battlefield” position compared to the jobs of the previous two undersecretaries of defense he introduced.

“You are on the frontlines in the job of undersecretary for personnel and readiness,” Panetta said to Conaton.

 “You’re dealing with issues that confront people in this department from birth, through their career, to their death. It’s all dealt with in this shop.”

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