The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

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 ...

586470_090423_lute2.jpg
586470_090423_lute2.jpg
WASHINGTON - JUNE 7: Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill June 7, 2007 in Washington, DC. Lt. Gen. Lute has been nominated by US President George W. Bush to be the assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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. 

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.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Laura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.
Tag: War

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.