U.S. President Barack Obama announced July 7 the recess appointments of three nominees to fill vacant administration posts, including Philip Coyle to become the associate director for national security and international affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Coyle was once the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, and since 2001 had been a senior adviser for the Center for Defense Information. He has been an advocate of more rigorous testing of missile defense systems prior to their deployment.

By waiting until the Senate is in recess, the president can bypass the normal confirmation process for senior federal officials and appoint an individual to serve until the end of the current legislative session. Coyle and the other two individuals appointed July 7 can serve through 2011 without Senate confirmation.

“It’s unfortunate that at a time when our nation is facing enormous challenges, many in Congress have decided to delay critical nominations for political purposes,” Obama said in a July 7 statement. “These recess appointments will allow three extremely qualified candidates to get to work on behalf of the American people right away. With more than 180 nominees still pending before the Senate, it’s my hope that my colleagues in Congress will agree to put politics aside and move forward on these vitally important positions.”