Article published Apr 28, 2009
Obama chooses retired Marine Lt. with local ties for key Defense post

PORTSMOUTH — A local disaster relief technology company is expressing pride at the recent announcement that a member of their board of directors has been tapped by President Barack Obama for a senior-level position in the Department of Defense.

Portsmouth-based Global Relief Technologies said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Wallace "Chip" Gregson, Jr., one of 11 members of the board, will become the assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs pending the confirmation process.

"I think he will make an invaluable contribution to the Obama administration. It's great to see they are recruiting people who have an intimate understanding of that part of the world," said Michael Gray, founder and chief executive officer of Global Relief Technologies.

Gray said his company became aware of the possible nomination approximately two months ago.

Gregson said he is "honored" to have been selected for the position.

"This region poses unique challenges for the U.S., and I am confident that my experience in policy matters there will be an asset for the administration moving forward," he said in a statement.

Global Relief Technologies, with headquarters at 30 New Hampshire Ave., looks to assist people struggling all over the world by using high-tech devices. The company formed five years ago and was located in Washington, D.C. before it moved to Portsmouth.

Gray said GRT provides technology that helps first responders use handheld devices to collect data in the wake of natural disasters and pandemic outbreaks. Data collected by GRT customers, including the American Red Cross and U.S. Marine Corps, can be collected on devices and electronically streamed to the company for instant analysis to help responders make informed decisions in the field.

Gray said Gregson is not a New Hampshire resident but has been a huge part of their success by providing a link to the military and through his understanding of the countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Gregson has served in the Marine Corps since his graduation from the Naval Academy and from 1998 to 2000 was the director of Asia-Pacific policy in the office of the secretary of defense.

He served as the commanding general of all Marine Corps bases in Japan from 2001 to 2003, when he was awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, the Gold Star, Silver Star and the Korean Order of National Security Merit Gukeson Medal.

Additionally, he led over 70,000 Marines and sailors in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Asia and the United States from 2003 to 2005 as the commanding general of Marine Forces Pacific and Marine Corps Forces Central Command.

Since 2006, Gregson has been a foreign policy and military affairs consultant for WCG & Associates International and he previously served as chief operating officer for the United States Olympic Committee.

Gray said Gregson's knowledge of Asia and the Pacific have been huge in helping his company extend their services to that part of the world. He said the retired military officer has helped direct company policy and provide oversight of activities in the region.

"He is one of the foremost experts in the United State on that part of the world. I know he will bring a lot to foreign policy efforts in that part of the world. He is a humanitarian ... he believes in that mission," said Gray, a former refugee officer at the State Department.

Gregson is expected to take leave from the GRT board to take on security challenges for the Obama Administration.

Gregson is the second GRT board member to play a significant role on Obama's team. Frederick D. Barton worked as a member of the agency review team on national security on the Obama-Biden transition team.