Scott Arceneaux takes Defense Department post
Scott Arceneaux moves up to a White House spot.

He'll be a liaison between Defense and White House.

Florida Democratic political consultant Scott Arceneaux, a former state party executive director who played a key role in President Joe Biden‘s Florida campaign, has joined the administration.

Arceneaux was sworn in Wednesday in the U.S. Department of Defense as special assistant for the White House liaison office.

He was one of 25 new Defense Department appointments sworn in simultaneously, either in person or virtually, on Inauguration Day, as the Biden administration begins installing its leadership and backfilling long-vacant positions former President Donald Trump‘s administration had neglected.

The other officials sworn in included chiefs of staff to the Secretary of Defense and secretaries to the various military branches, and lawyers for various divisions in the department.

Earlier Wednesday, David Norquist was sworn in as Acting Secretary of Defense, and he’ll be overseeing the department rebuild while the Senate moves forward with Biden’s nominee, Lloyd Austin. Norquist had been Deputy Defense Secretary.

The Department of Defense stated in a release Wednesday that more than 50 positions will be filled on an interim basis. In addition to Norquist, they include John Whitley as Army Secretary, Thomas Harker as Navy Secretary, and John Roth as Air Force Secretary.

“The incoming Biden administration has reviewed these plans and reached out to officials across the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military department to confirm the succession plan the new administration intends to implement for all presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed positions,” Norquist wrote in a memo Wednesday to senior defense leaders.

To that end, Arceneaux will have a critical role to play, as special assistant for the White House liaison office, coordinating Biden’s desires with the department’s realities.

Arceneaux was executive director of the Florida Democratic Party from 2009 to 2017. Last summer he joined Biden’s presidential campaign as  strategic adviser in Florida.

A Jacksonville Beach lawyer, Arceneaux also served as Andrew Gillum for Governor’s chief strategist through the 2018 August primary and November General Election. Before coming to Florida he had been executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Barbara Gresham Hammerman

    January 22, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Terrific selection! I’ve know Scott’s parents for decades and have pix of Scott during his grade school years, some framed along with our own daughter’s. We’ve followed his career with joy for his service, integrity and diligence. His Mother and I walked to elementary school together and on through to college and have stayed close throughout. We join his family, friends and colleagues in celebration and sure knowledge that our country is well-served with Scott Arceneaux’s appointment. ~ Barbara, Raymond and Amanda

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