On 28 February 2020, President Donald J. Trump formally nominated Kenneth J. Braithwaite of Pennsylvania to be the Secretary of the Navy. If confirmed, which is expected, Ambassador Braithwaite will replace Richard V. Spencer, who was fired in late November 2019 by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper when Spencer tried to cut a deal with the White House on an accused Navy SEAL, behind the back of Dr. Esper.
Richard Vaughn Spencer (born January 18, 1954) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 76th United States Secretary of the Navy from August 3, 2017, to November 24, 2019. While serving as Secretary of the Navy, he also briefly served as Acting United States Secretary of Defense and Acting United States Deputy Secretary of Defense from July 15, 2019, to July 31, 2019. Spencer served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1976 to 1981 as a Marine Aviator and also served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Intercontinental Exchange from November 2001 to January 2008. Spencer served as Secretary of the Navy from August 3, 2017, to November 24, 2019, when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper requested his resignation over his handling of the Eddie Gallagher case. Esper stated that Spencer tried to cut a deal with the White House, behind Esper’s back, to let Gallagher retire as a Navy SEAL
Kenneth Braithwaite currently serves as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Norway.
Ambassador Braithwaite is a distinguished 27-year veteran of the United States Navy and United States Navy Reserve. Ambassador Braithwaite completed his military service in 2011 as the Navy’s Vice Chief of Information. Additionally, he served as Commanding Officer, Joint Public Affairs Expeditionary Support Element (Reserve), Joint Forces Command. In that role, he deployed to Pakistan as the overall Director of Strategic Communications supporting the work of the American Embassy.
Ambassador Braithwaite also served as Group Senior Vice President for Vizient, Executive Director of Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, Vice President of Government Affairs for Ascension Health, and State Director to United States Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA).
Ambassador Braithwaite received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy, his pilot wings as a Naval Aviator, and a master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.