JANUARY 26, 2017 — President Donald J. Trump is to nominate former private equity investment manager Philip Bilden as the 76th Secretary of the Navy—greatly to the surprise of those who thought that former HASC seapower chairman Randy Forbes would be the obvious choice.
However, President Trump opted for Mr. Bilden, saying that he "will apply his terrific judgement and top-notch management skills to the task of rebuilding our unparalleled Navy."
Here's how the White House press office announced the choice:
President Donald J. Trump today announced his intention to nominate Philip Bilden as the 76th Secretary of the Navy.
Mr. Bilden, a highly successful business leader, former Military Intelligence officer, and Naval War College cybersecurity leader will bring strategic leadership, investment discipline, and Asia Pacific regional and cyber expertise to the Department of the Navy.
Bilden has longstanding trusted relationships with senior military leaders, particularly in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, through his years of national security engagement, including service on the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation. Mr. Bilden understands the strategic, operational, and readiness challenges our Navy and Marine Corps leaders confront in maintaining our naval maritime presence around the globe.
Bilden is deeply committed to military service members and their families, coming from a military family with four consecutive generations of seven Bilden Navy and Army officers, including his two sons who presently serve in the US Navy. He greatly respects the sacrifices that Navy and Marine Corps families make to serve their country.
Mr. Bilden served ten years in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence officer from 1986-1996. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served through the rank of Captain at Strategic Military Intelligence Detachments supporting the Defense Intelligence Agency. He resigned his commission in 1996 upon relocating to Hong Kong.
“As Secretary of the Navy, Philip Bilden will apply his terrific judgement and top-notch management skills to the task of rebuilding our unparalleled Navy,” said President Trump. “Our number of ships is at the lowest point that it has been in decades. Philip Bilden is the right choice to help us expand and modernize our fleet, including surface ships, submarines and aircraft, and ensure America’s naval supremacy for decades to come. I am proud of the men and women of our armed forces. The people who serve in our military are our American heroes, and we honor their service every day.”
“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve as Secretary of the Navy,” said Philip Bilden. “Maintaining the strength, readiness, and capabilities of our maritime force is critical to our national security. If confirmed, I will ensure that our Sailors and Marines have the resources they need to defend our interests around the globe and support our allies with commitment and capability.”
Mr. Bilden has three decades of international management, leadership, and investment experience building an investment management business across global markets with diverse international partners. After 25 years, Mr. Bilden recently retired as a co-founding member and Senior Advisor of HarbourVest Partners, LLC, a leading global private equity investment management firm with institutional assets under management currently in excess of $42 billion. He became a founding member of the firm following the management buyout of HarbourVest’s predecessor company in 1997. Mr. Bilden joined the firm in Boston in 1991 and relocated to Hong Kong in 1996 to establish the firm’s Asian presence as a pioneering investor in the region. Throughout his 25 year tenure at HarbourVest Partners, Mr. Bilden served in senior leadership roles in the firm’s global management, including the firm’s four person Executive Committee responsible for governance.
Mr. Bilden serves on numerous philanthropic boards of non-profit organizations supporting military veterans, national and regional security, and cybersecurity missions. He serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; the Asia Pacific Advisory Board and Dean’s Board of Advisors of Harvard Business School; the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation; and the Board of Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation, where he serves as the inaugural Chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies.
Mr. Bilden graduated as Distinguished Military Graduate, U.S. Army ROTC, from Georgetown University, earning the President’s Cup as the top graduate in the corps. He received a B.S. (magna cum laude) in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1986, with a concentration in International Politics and Soviet bloc studies. Mr. Bilden earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1991.