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Griffin, Porter to Depart Defense Department

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 24, 2020
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Mike Griffin

Defense Department Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin and his deputy, Lisa Porter, have resigned from their posts effective June 10 to jointly pursue an unidentified opportunity in the private sector, Breaking Defense reports.

Griffin, who previously served as NASA administrator, was brought on board in February 2019 to overhaul the Pentagon’s costly and time-consuming research, development and procurement systems through the newly established Space Development Agency (SDA) and other measures.

Breaking Defense report that Griffin and Porter might have worn out their welcome after less than 18 months on the job.

According to insiders, there is a whiff of the proverbial ‘leaving to spend time with my family’ about the joint resignation email — in that the duo was under pressure from Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist to step aside. There have been consistent reports over the past 18 months that a number of R&E staff have complained of toxic leadership during the Griffin-Porter tenure. And, more than one source in the loop said, both Griffin and Porter had recently told staff that they intended to stay in place until after Trump’s renomination as the Republican candidate for president.

In response to a Breaking D inquiry, a spokesperson for DoD’s Office of the Inspector General “could not confirm or deny” that there as been at least one, if not more, official complaints from staffers who felt mistreated.

Further, the resignations follows on the heels of House Armed Service Committee criticism in the draft 2021 National Defense Authorization Act centered on R&E’s handling of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Space Development Agency (SDA). The new HASC language echoed similar criticism in last year’s NDAA, with both bills demanding that Defense Secretary Mark Esper consider moving MDA from R&E to the purview of DoD acquisition head Ellen Lord.