Situation Report

McChrystal’s book to be delayed

Kip Ward’s fate soon to be determined, Why Benghazi was good for America, What was “TBD” doing in the Early Bird this morning? and more.

The Pentagon will delay publication of McChrystal’s book because of security concerns. FP’s Tom Ricks writes that McChrystal’s book, "My Share of the Task: A Memoir," will be delayed while the Pentagon security clearance office reviews the manuscript. The book was due out Nov. 12.

"Word is that McChrystal wrote about a lot of special operations actions," Ricks writes on his blog. "This wasn’t a problem until "No Easy Day" came out and freaked out everybody in officialdom."

Indeed, Situation Report reported recently on the worries of another author, Pete Mansoor, whose book isn’t coming out for awhile but who learned the hard way on his last book that the 30-day timeframe the Pentagon is supposed to have to review manuscripts can quickly slide to four months. Since the SEAL book on the bin Laden raid created fears that classified material was getting into the public domain — and for profit — the Pentagon has been scrambling to figure out what to do.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little was asked yesterday about another book, "The Endgame," in which Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor quote from several secret documents. Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio: "They quote repeatedly — and almost brag about the access they’ve had to troves of secret documents, classified documents, some still secret. Has the department looked at the book and its vetting process and your unauthorized disclosure review to see if whether a leak investigation should be convened?"

Little: "I wouldn’t get into reviews of this kind, Tony." Little said there is a difference between books written by recent, former military personnel, like the author of "No Easy Day," and others. "Again, I would say that we deplore the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. We take all of these disclosures very seriously. And I’m not going to get into what process we may or may not invoke with respect to books written by outside authors. 

Read the transcript of the exchange:

Situation Report, Sept. 27th, on Pentagon vetting procedures:

Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of FP’s Situation Report, where we never have 30 days to vet information. Follow me @glubold or hit me anytime at Sign up for Situation Report here: or just send me an e-mail and we’ll put you on the list.

Kip Ward’s fate will soon be known. The former commander of U.S. Africa Command, William "Kip" Ward, investigated by the DoD Inspector General for misusing government resources, will soon learn what, if any punitive action is taken against him. A defense official tells Situation Report that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will act on the IG’s recommendations, made this summer, including the rank at which Ward will be able to retire, likely in the next few weeks.

Ward, as many know, was investigated for "multiple forms of misconduct" related to official and unofficial travel, misuse of government vehicles, staff and government funds to support trips on military aircraft "when the predominant purpose of the travel was personal," and accepted reimbursement from the government for some travel that was not authorized. At one point his wife used a "hardened vehicle" in Germany without required threat assessments or authorization; he printed a book about his house in Germany to distribute at his change-of-command ceremony, at a cost of nearly $19,000; and he accepted tickets to a Broadway show from a "prohibited source."

The IG recommended the secretary "take appropriate action" against Ward and consider whether he should reimburse the government for unofficial travel on military aircraft and for travel expenses already paid him that exceeded 300 percent of per diem. The whole fiasco could also result in additional ethics training for all combatant commanders and "Tier 1 travelers."

The redacted IG investigation:

John McHugh is still running the Army from Walter Reed. Army Secretary McHugh is still recovering from injuries he sustained in a bike accident in Alexandria last week in which he reportedly broke his pelvis after swerving on a Northern Virginia bike trail to avoid a group of pedestrians. "He is, however, working and continues to carry out his duties and conduct meetings with full communications capability, staff interaction and support," his new spokesman, Maj. Chris Kasker, told Situation Report.

Cartwright is headed to Harvard. Former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is going as a senior fellow to the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School to bring "hands-on experience" to the center’s work on national security policy issues, according to a press release. Cartwright, who worked behind a bank of computers at his desk in his E-Ring office, will work on a cyber strategy initiative that attempts to "stand back from current policy and technology" to think better about the issue. He’ll also join Larry Summers and Graham Allison as co-chair of the China Working Group, "exploring challenges that China and the United States face" as "a rising power rivals a ruling power."

Some are handicapping the notion that foreign policy is important in this election. Situation Report got a call from Cato in response to our item yesterday on a survey conducted by the Foreign Policy Initiative showing than more people are interested in foreign policy in this election than conventional wisdom suggests. "It’s pretty clear to me that Obama has a lead on foreign policy and it’s also clear that it’s not important if you’re counting votes," Cato’s Justin Logan, the director of foreign policy studies there, told Situation Report. "I think not withstanding Benghazi, Yemen and some serious issues, I don’t think it’s come onto the radar screen," he said. Foreign policy, Logan says, "is a luxury good" for the American people who are otherwise, of course, focused on their own lots.

FPI’s survey:

What’s up with the "TBD" header in the Early Bird this morning? A technical glitch, Situation Report was told, as the Early Bird, which is normally a flawless compendium of defense coverage, undergoes slight changes for a new look.

The singing general declassifies privileged information. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey, who is given to breaking out into song at times, named his favorite band during remarks he made at the Landon Lecture at Kansas State University. It is The Who. Dempsey:  "… some of you might know that in this month 35 years ago, October of 1977, my favorite rock band…The Who, recorded what I think is potentially one of the best rock songs of all times, called ‘Who Are You.’"

The U.S. is assembling plans to go after the militants who attacked the American outpost in Libya, as numerous papers have reported, including the Wall Street Journal on Monday. And yesterday, the New York Times reported that the U.S. was assembling "target packages" to go after these groups, affiliated with al-Qaida, though nothing appears imminent.

But as Tom Malinowski writes on FP, the "Libya Surprise" might have been a good thing for America. The response in Libya to the attack in many ways validated American policy there.

"Could anyone, whether a cynic or optimist about the region, have dreamed of a better response to an attack on a diplomatic mission on Arab soil than what happened after the violence in Benghazi — tens of thousands of people marching on the headquarters of the law-defying militias suspected of complicity in the assault (and of multiple other killings over the past several months) to run them out of town, while holding signs paying tribute to the fallen ambassador?"


FP piece:

Doug v. Doug: Why at least one guy thinks Doug Ollivant is way off.  Ollivant wrote a piece for FP that essentially made the case for land warfare at a time when the pivot to Asia and the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan signal a sea change (pun intentional) and everybody thinks it’s all about naval and air assets. Ollivant, like many others, believes the U.S. still has an interest in ungoverned spaces. But the Air Force Association’s Doug Birkey wrote Situation Report to disagree with some of his points: "I want a strong Army and Marine Corps. I genuinely believe that they afford the nation key capabilities. However, what I want most are effective and efficient strategies that are optimized to advance our nation’s global interests," he writes. "Ollivant’s argument falls short because he focuses on the ‘thing’ — ground forces –before he defines national interests and associated strategies. Focusing too much on ‘things’ vs. goals and associated strategy is dangerous. We saw this in Vietnam when 600,000 boots on the ground couldn’t make up for unrealistic goals and poor strategy. We have also seen instances of this in Iraq and Afghanistan where no amount of money, manpower, and technology could overcome some exceedingly difficult circumstances inherent within each country."
Read (or re-read) Ollivant’s FP piece:

Eleven Years and Counting


Blowing Up


 Twitter: @glubold

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola