- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2020

President Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of the U.S. Navy will face the Senate Armed Services Committee for a nomination hearing next week as calls for a permanent leader mount amid the coronavirus pandemic that has hit two Navy ships.

Kenneth Braithwaite, former U.S. ambassador to Norway and a retired admiral and naval aviator, was tapped to the post in November, after former secretary Richard Spencer was fired following a dispute with Mr. Trump over the fate of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq.

The May 7 hearing comes amid renewed calls for a permanent leader of the military branch in the wake of the resignation of acting Secretary Thomas Modly over his handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

As of Thursday, there are at least 1,102 active cases of COVID-19 aboard the 4,000-person ship, and at least 78 active cases aboard the USS Kidd.

Newly confirmed Army Undersecretary James E. McPherson has stepped in as acting secretary since Mr. Modly’s resignation.

In a Thursday announcement, the committee said it would be following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will enforce social distancing measures during the hearing.

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