On July 15, 2021, President Biden nominated Alan Estevez as the administration’s Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. In late March of 2022, close to a year later, the Senate finally confirmed the appointment. Only now, the world has shifted.
That said, Estevez is still the right person for the job.
Estevez now leads the Commerce organization known as the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). When Alan’s nomination took place, China was top of mind. Now, it’s Russia and Ukraine. This is a case study in selecting for skill set, rather than specific experience.
Estevez came up through the ranks at the Department of Defense, retiring as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Long title, and in simple terms it means that Alan knows how things move around the word, including during conflict. He was a great pick to address China trade. He’s a better pick during the Ukrainian crisis.
BIS needs a leader who understands risk, risk management, and conflict. Iraq. Afghanistan. Coalitions. Conflict.
Alan is a case study in recruiting for the skill set, not the task. Maybe the Biden administration got lucky. More likely, they hired smart and got it right. Either way, Commerce has a new sheriff.