Biden’s Choice for Pentagon’s Weapons Buyer Withdraws His Name

President Joe Biden’s choice for the Defense Department’s chief weapons buyer, Michael Brown, has withdrawn his name from consideration because of an inspector general’s investigation of the office he now leads.

Brown, currently director of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, informed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of his decision in a letter this week. In April, Biden announced his intent to nominate Brown but never submitted the formal paperwork to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Defense One reported in late April that the Pentagon’s inspector general was looking into allegations that Brown circumvented federal hiring regulations during his leadership at the Defense Innovation Unit.

Biden’s Choice for Pentagon’s Weapons Buyer Withdraws His Name

In a formal complaint to the inspector general, the unit’s former chief financial officer identified a half-dozen employees, including himself, who he said had received special treatment, such as having job descriptions specifically tailored to their skill set to eliminate other applicants, Defense One said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed Brown’s withdrawal on Wednesday but declined to discuss the pending investigation.

In his letter to Austin, Brown said he’s confident that the inspector general’s office “ultimately will find no wrongdoing on my part,” but that he was withdrawing from consideration because “it appears that an ongoing investigation by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General into personnel practices at the Defense Innovation Unit will delay consideration of my nomination for up to a year.”

Kirby said he had no other personnel announcement to make when asked if Brown will remain the head of the Defense Innovation Unit, which was created to tap the creative ideas of small, innovative non-defense companies. The unit describes itself on its website as a “fast-moving Department of Defense organization.”

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