View the Full List
Robert Work

34 - Robert Work
2012 Rank: 35

CEO, Center for a New American Security
As the Navy’s No. 2 civilian, Work won accolades for his performance, overseeing the service’s daily operations, from budgeting to force structure to programs. He stepped down from the Navy to join the Center for a New American Security in April, but is now seen as a frontrunner to replace Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, (No. 66) who stepped down this month. At the Navy Department, the retired Marine artillery colonel was a tireless public speaker, a presence on websites and relentless on the Hill engaging lawmakers. A first-order strategist — who was one of Andrew Marshall’s (No. 14) military advisers, he backed unmanned carrier-launched aircraft, converting an old amphibious ship into an innovative afloat staging base to support countermine ships and patrol craft in the Arabian Gulf, and the Air-Sea Battle concept to bolster Air Force-Navy strategic cooperation. Unflappable, analytical and ruled by reason, Work is a broad national security thinker able to handle any defense job without bias. “He was an advocate for the Navy because that was his job,” says one friend of Work, “but if he’s at OSD, he’s going to work for the best interests of the department he serves.” 

Opinion shapers Policy Navy Marines