NSC news: Jones expands war czar Lute’s portfolio

NSC news: Jones expands war czar Lute’s portfolio

U.S. national security advisor Gen. James Jones (ret.) has expanded the portfolio of the holdover NSC war czar Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, The Cable has learned. In addition to overseeing the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan portfolios, Lute’s NSC empire now extends from North Africa to India.

It is not clear what Lute’s expanded portfolio means for the senior staff who had already been appointed to run regional directorates that it includes. Lute would serve as a coordinator of the Near East and South Asia, on top of the existing structure, one source suggested. 

The NSC said it had no comment on the change. 

Several sources have in recent weeks described Jones as having a problematic tenure at the NSC, a subject that no one there has wanted to discuss or would provide comment on.

Jones had previously wanted to harmonize regional directorates to be consistent across the NSC, State Department, and the Defense Department, and he leaned towards both the NSC and State Department adopting the military’s regional command structure. But the other departments did not want to reorganize their regional bureaus to conform with the military model.

The promotion of Lute, a general, to have a Central Command type portfolio plus India would seem to be consistent with Jones’ military-oriented outlook. Obama’s style, sources said, seems far less hierarchical. Obama’s preference, they described, is for a more wide-open process where he reaches out to seek the views of people at different levels regardless of their station.

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