President Barack Obama has picked former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus to be the next secretary of the Navy – pending Senate confirmation.
A quick look at the thumbnail biography of the Mississippi Democrat shows what the Obama team was looking for in a civilian service chief: management and political skills. He was governor of Mississippi from 1988 to 1992.
Mabus, 60, served as an adviser and surrogate speaker for candidate Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign. He also served as chairman and CEO of Foamex, a large manufacturer he led out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007.
And Mabus was ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the Clinton administration. While ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh ended its boycott of U.S. businesses that trade with Israel.
The White House bio lists awards Mabus won and interest groups he belonged to but makes no mention of his service in the Navy. A 1969 ROTC graduate of Ole Miss, Mabus served two years – most as a surface warfare officer on the cruiser U.S. Little Rock in the Navy. He also has a law degree from Harvard.
Photo credit: Commander J.P. Mathews, U.S. Navy
While his military service was brief, it's kind of puzzling that the White House would fail to mention Obama has picked a Navy secretary, who actually served in the Navy -- sea duty no less.