President Obama announced this evening that he plans to nominate a former University of Maine system chancellor to be undersecretary of the Army.
Joseph Westphal, now a political science professor at the University of Maine, was on the Obama transition team for national security, was assistant secretary of the Army for civil works from 1998 to 2001, and acting secretary of the Army for June and July 2001.
Obama also said he plans to nominate Robert V. Abbey as director of the Bureau of Land Management; Sam D. Hamilton as director of the Office of Fish and Wildlife Service; Deborah A. P. Hersman as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board; Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., as commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission; and Harry Hoglander, to stay on the National Mediation Board.
“I’m grateful for the service of these individuals at this critical time for our nation. Their collective backgrounds and distinct experiences will help keep our nation safe and put our country on a path to prosperity. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” the president said in a statement.
The White House-provided mini-biographies of the nominees are below:
Joseph Westphal, Nominee for Under Secretary of the Army, Department of Defense
Joseph Westphal is University System Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine where he also served as the Chancellor of the University of Maine System. Mr. Westphal recently served as a member of the Obama-Biden Transition for the National Security Team working on Defense matters. He was Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works from 1998 to 2001 and Acting Secretary of the Army for June and July 2001. His other federal government experience included Senior Policy Advisor for Water Resources at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Staff Director of the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus in the United States Congress. His other academic appointments have included Associate Professor and Head of the Political Science Department at Oklahoma State University. While on leave from the University of Maine, Mr. Westphal worked in the Department of the Interior on issues related to water development and as a budget analyst and assistant to the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget. He has also served as Adjunct Professor of Government at Georgetown University and Professor and Provost at The New School University in New York. Mr. Westphal received a B.A. from Adelphi University, M.A. from Oklahoma State University and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Robert V. Abbey, Nominee for Director, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior
Bob Abbey is currently partner at Abbey - Stubbs - Ford, LLC where he is a private consultant specializing in western land and resource strategies. Prior to this experience Bob was the Nevada State Director for the DOI's Bureau of Land Management. There Bob was responsible for managing natural resources and mineral development activities on about 48 million acres of public land in Nevada. He managed a staff of 700+ employees in 9 offices and he was responsible for the $51 million budget. Bob has also been the Associate State Director/Acting State Director of Colorado for the Interior's BLM. Bob has also been the District Manager in his home state of Mississippi for the Bureau of Land Management. Bob was responsible for the strategic planning and directing operations for 85% of the producing federal land-based oil & gas leases within the eastern United States under the BLM. Bob's extensive expertise in the areas of land use planning and environmental laws, legislation development, strategic planning and resource development make him an excellent candidate for the position of Director of Bureau of Land Management.
Sam D. Hamilton, Nominee for Director, Office of Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
Sam D. Hamilton has served the United States Fish & Wildlife Service from 1979 until now and has been the Regional Director of the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Atlanta, Georgia from 1997 until now. There he was the senior operating executive for the Southeast Region of the US with full strategic planning and management responsibility for a $484 million budget. Sam provided leadership to a 1500 person work-force operating in 10 states and the Caribbean. He provided FWS leadership and oversight to the Interior's Everglades' restoration work which has been the largest ecosystem restoration project in the country. He has represented the Secretary of the Interior on coastal Louisiana wetlands restoration work and has been responsible for oversight and management of 350+ federally listed threatened and endangered species. Sam has also served as Assistant Regional Director of the Ecological Service in Atlanta, Georgia and FWS Texas State Administrator in Austin, Texas. Sam has the proven experience in developing innovative conservation initiatives, resolving complex and controversial environmental issues and delivering significant wildlife conservation across the U.S. He is highly dedicated to leading change to more effectively accomplish the Fish & Wildlife Service's mission. Sam's long-stretching career with the US Fish & Wildlife Service as well as his vast & varied experience make him an excellent candidate for Director, US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Deborah A. P. Hersman, Nominee for Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
As a Board Member of the NTSB since June, 2004, Ms. Hersman has served as the Board’s representative at 15 accidents including the fatal crash of a regional jet in Lexington, KY, the collision of a container ship into the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and the crash of a private airplane into a New York City building. Ms. Hersman has chaired a number of public events hosted by the NTSB, including a two-day forum on motorcycle safety, a public hearing on motor coach safety, and public hearings on two significant aviation accidents. Ms. Hersman holds a motorcycle endorsement as well as a commercial drivers license with passenger, school bus, and air brake endorsements. She is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Before joining the NTSB, Ms. Hersman was a Senior Professional Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation from 1999 to 2004 where she was responsible for the legislative agenda and policy initiatives affecting surface transportation issues, including economic and safety regulation of railroads, trucks, buses, pipelines, and hazardous materials transportation. Prior to that appointment, she served as Staff Director and Senior Legislative Aide to Congressman Bob Wise of West Virginia from 1992 to 1999. Ms. Hersman received undergraduate degrees from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University in Virginia.
Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., Nominee for Commissioner, Federal Maritime Commission
Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., has worked in the international maritime trade industry for 35 years from positions in both business and government. Beginning with his service as a Congressional aide on the U.S. House of Representatives Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, he began his professional legal career in the Federal Maritime Commission’s Office of General Counsel as Legislative Counsel from 1973-75. In 1975 he was appointed by the Maryland Port Administration to be Director of Tariffs and National Port Affairs, as well as counsel. While representing the Port of Baltimore on both regional and national port organizations, he was a key architect of the port protection sections in the Panama Canal Treaty Implementing Legislation and the Shipping Act of 1984. He also helped negotiate on behalf of the port one of the first US-China trade agreements. In 1985 he was recruited by Sea Containers Ltd, the global maritime manufacturer and leasing company, to establish their Washington, DC, office. As Vice President for Governmental Affairs until 2006, he established their contracts with the Pentagon to supply military equipment from Sea Containers’ factory in Charleston, SC. He also served as a member of the Sealift Transportation Committee of the National Defense Transportation Association; as Board Director and on the Defense, Transportation and Port Security Committee of the British-American Business Association; and as a High-Level Expert to the U.S. NATO Delegation on the Ports and Intermodal Transportation Committee from 1995-2005. He is currently working as an attorney and international trade consultant in private practice. He received his JD from the University of Maryland in 1972 and his BA from the School of Government and Public Administration of American University in 1968. From 1968 to 1975, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard on active and reserve duty.
Harry Hoglander, Re-nominated to serve as Board Member, National Mediation Board
Harry R. Hoglander has been a Member of the National Mediation Board since August 6, 2002, and has twice served as its Chairman. He was first confirmed by the United States Senate on August 1, 2002, and reconfirmed for a second term on December 8, 2006. Prior to joining the Board, Hoglander served as a Legislative Specialist in the office of Congressman John Tierney of Massachusetts, where he covered issues related to transportation, labor, defense, and veterans affairs. Hoglander has extensive background in aviation - he spent 28 years flying for Trans World Airline (TWA), where he was a Captain. Additionally, while with TWA, he was elected Master Chairman of TWA's Master Executive Council and elected Executive Vice-President of the Air Line Pilots Association. After leaving TWA, Hoglander was named Aviation Labor Representative to the United States Bi-Lateral Negotiating Team by then-Secretary of State James Baker. Hoglander was a pilot in the United States Air Force and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He graduated from Suffolk University Law School and is a member of the Florida Bar.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.