Transition purgatory, part IV: the Pentagon
Although President-elect Obama has decided to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary, and while Gates has reportedly chosen to keep as many as 160 of the 250 Schedule “C” political appointees at the Pentagon, uncertainty remains about top-tier posts. Photo of William J. Lynn via Raytheon Former Clinton-era Navy Secretary Richard Danzig has long been ...
Although President-elect Obama has decided to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary, and while Gates has reportedly chosen to keep as many as 160 of the 250 Schedule "C" political appointees at the Pentagon, uncertainty remains about top-tier posts.
Although President-elect Obama has decided to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary, and while Gates has reportedly chosen to keep as many as 160 of the 250 Schedule “C” political appointees at the Pentagon, uncertainty remains about top-tier posts.
Former Clinton-era Navy Secretary Richard Danzig has long been considered a likely successor to Gates, and conventional wisdom had it that he was a likely deputy defense secretary. But two Democratic sources familiar with the current thinking on the Obama team say the No. 2 person’s role will primarily be to manage the department, rather than preparing to take the helm. Sources in Washington defense circles and media reports now say that former Clinton-era Under Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn (right) is likely to be get the deputy slot. My sources tell me that Lynn (pdf), a former Pentagon comptroller and more recently a senior vice president at Raytheon, is considered a “money” guy who can help get a handle on budget, system and personnel matters at the gargantuan bureaucracy during a war-time, recession-era administration.
Also said to be in line for top DoD jobs:
- Michele Flournoy, a former Clinton-era principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction who is now president of the Center for a New American Security. Sources say she is likely to be named the undersecretary of defense for policy (Eric Edelman‘s current and Doug Feith‘s old job)
- Two former senior Pentagon officials now affiliated with the Harvard Kennedy School: Ashton Carter, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, and Sarah Sewall, who was the first deputy assistant secretary of defense for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance during the Clinton administration and is with Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Sewall wrote the introduction to the recent U.S. Army/Marine Counterinsurgency Manual. Neither could be reached for comment.
- Jennifer Palmieri, a former John Edwards aide, and Wendy Morigi, an Obama campaign spokeswoman and former Senate Select Committee on Intelligence spokesperson, are said by Democratic national security sources to be under consideration for top jobs in the Pentagon’s public affairs shop
- Andrew Shapiro, Hillary Clinton’s aide on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who may alternatively work with her at the State Department [UPDATE: A well-informed source says that Shapiro is most likely headed to the State Department with Clinton. Shapiro did not respond to a query.]
Sewall and Flournoy served as leaders of the national security agency review team for the official Obama-Biden transition, and Carter and Shapiro as members of the Defense Department agency review team. Danzig, Sewall, and Flournoy were on the transition’s national security policy review group.
- Transition purgatory, part III: the State Department
- Transition purgatory, part II: the National Security Council
- Transition purgatory, part I: overview
Hearing more names? Are you up for a DAS position? Have the Feds visited you to do a background check on your neighbor? Overhear a transition huddle at your Starbucks? Give a holler: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from Foreign Policy
At Long Last, the Foreign Service Gets the Netflix Treatment
Keri Russell gets Drexel furniture but no Senate confirmation hearing.
How Macron Is Blocking EU Strategy on Russia and China
As a strategic consensus emerges in Europe, France is in the way.
What the Bush-Obama China Memos Reveal
Newly declassified documents contain important lessons for U.S. China policy.
Russia’s Boom Business Goes Bust
Moscow’s arms exports have fallen to levels not seen since the Soviet Union’s collapse.