General Motors' new military defense unit is up and running and has hired a U.S. Army veteran as its president.
GM Defense LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based subsidiary of the automaker, recently appointed retired Maj. Gen. John Charlton to the position. An exact appointment date was not immediately available. He will report to GM Defense CEO Charlie Freese, a 15-year GM veteran and fuel cell technology specialist. Freese reports to GM product chief Mark Reuss.
The news comes roughly a year after Automotive News first reported GM's plans to resurrect GM Defense after selling its previous defense unit to General Dynamics Corp. for $1.1 billion in 2003.
Prior to joining GM Defense, Charlton spent a 34 years in the U.S. Army, with three combat tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He held command positions at every level and various senior staff positions on the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Charlton, who most recently was a commanding general for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, said he is "proud" to continue his career in the defense industry with GM, which has the "flexibility and agility to provide scalable options that can meet the ever-changing requirements of our country's warfighters."
GM Defense initially is expected to focus on military and aerospace applications for GM's emerging fuel cell technologies, including a fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado known as the ZH2 and the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure platform.
In June, GM announced an exclusive deal with Liebherr-Aerospace of France to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered auxiliary power unit for aircraft applications. An auxiliary power unit typically powers an aircraft's lighting, air conditioning, backup systems and other auxiliary functions.
GM Defense also is advertising itself as a specialist in vehicle development, system cybersecurity, and electric and autonomous vehicle technologies.
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