As acting secretary of defense, Norquist will lead the daily operations of the Department of Defense (DoD) while Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for defense secretary, awaits Congress confirmation. The Biden team announced its plans to nominate Austin in Dec. 2020.
“We’re stepping onto a relay track, and when we’re part of a team, and somebody runs behind you and hands you the baton and then you get on the track and you run. But you know, at the end of the day you’re going to hand it to somebody else,” Norquist said. “And you need to hand it off in a way that is effective and coherent.”
Norquist has more than three decades of experience in federal financial management and national security. He was sworn in as the 34th deputy secretary of defense in July 2019. Norquist was appointed as the under secretary of defense (Comptroller)/chief financial officer in June 2017.
He served as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all budgetary and financial matters, and supported the National Defense Strategy (NDS) through the development and execution of the department’s annual budget of more than $680 billion.
Norquist also served as chief financial officer (CFO) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he was the first Senate-confirmed CFO for the Department. He also served as a partner at accounting firm Kearney and Co.
“What I want to do is to do for them what they did for me, which was to leave in place all the tools necessary in a sensible structure,” Norquist added.