Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development PolicyA master planner and steady advocate for the future fleet, Stackley oversees an annual purse of more than $50 billion to buy and develop new ships, aircraft and weapons. He was appointed in 2008 under then-President George W. Bush, and was expected to step down when President Obama took office. But the 1979 Naval Academy graduate and former Senate staffer has stayed on, earning praise from both sides of the aisle and shaping how the Navy confronts its biggest acquisition issues, such as the 2010 decision to buy both littoral combat ship designs. Stackley has deftly managed to maintain expensive shipbuilding as a funding priority, even as budgets are getting squeezed.
In the course of a few November days, three people plummeted from the top ranks of the powerful, falling down, and in one case off, the list.
Top editors had just finalized the top 10 for this project when retired Army Gen. David Petraeus abruptly resigned from his job as director of the CIA after admitting to an extramarital affair. The esteemed Petraeus, seen by many as destined for higher office and perhaps even the presidency, had been a fixture in the top 10 from the start.