President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has named transgender veteran Shawn Skelly as a member of its agency review team that will evaluate the Department of Defense.
Skelly co-founded Out in National Security, an affinity group for LGBTQ national security professionals, and served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a naval flight officer.
Ted Kaufman, a former U.S. senator and co-chair of the Biden-Harris transition team, said in a statement on Wednesday that members of the agency review team would rigorously evaluate operations of federal agencies as Joe Biden prepares to take office as president.
“Our nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change,” Kaufman said. “We must be prepared for a seamless transfer of knowledge to the incoming administration to protect our interests at home and abroad. The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day 1. The work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security, addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America remains the beacon of democracy for the world.”
In 2013, Skelly joined the Obama administration and was the first transgender veteran to serve as a presidential appointee, according to her bio.
Skelly served as a special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics; coordinator of the Department of Defense Warfighter Senior Integration Group. Skelly also served as director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the Department of Transportation during the Obama-Biden administration.
LGBTQ advocates have been pushing Biden to quickly reverse Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service upon taking office as litigation against the policy continues in federal courts.
According to a memo from the San Francisco-based Palm Center, Biden could lift the ban against transgender service members in as little as 30 days.
Dave Noble, an out former Obama appointee to NASA, has also been tapped to join the transition team. He will be part of the group evaluating the agency’s state after four years of Trump rule.
Lesbian Chai Feldblum, the former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission member targeted by the religious right, has been chosen to be part of the team reviewing the Department of Justice.