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Thread: Obama’s Pentagon-in-Waiting

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Obama’s Pentagon-in-Waiting

    Obama’s Pentagon-in-Waiting - Spencer Akerman, Washington Independent

    The rumor started to spread last week. if Sen. Barack Obama won the presidential election, Michele Flournoy would resign from the Center for a New American Security Thursday following the election. Friday at the latest.

    It’s not difficult to understand why the talk circulated. Flournoy boasts an enviable resume. A veteran of the Clinton Pentagon, she worked on counter-proliferation issues before playing a large role in shaping the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, an overview of defense strategy and its implementation.

    After leaving government service, Flournoy took a high-profile job at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent Washington policy organization, before co-founding the Center for a New American Security, an increasingly influential defense think tank, in 2007.

    It’s not just Flournoy. CNAS, as it’s known, is widely considered a likely feeder for the Obama Pentagon, though the organization disputes this — preferring to bill itself as nonpartisan. What CNAS does not dispute is that, over the course of the past two years — overnight, in Washington terms — it has emerged as an energetic center for studying contemporary defense issues, including Iraq, counterinsurgency and the national-security effects of climate change...

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Default politics is scary but..

    How does the counsil feel about this organization? I really do not know eneogh to have an opinion, but the names that I did recognize did not make me think "oh no, not that blowhard" like most of the advisors from early in the Bush administration did. Some of Clinton's "advisors" also had the same effect for me. Any word on if Obama is going to use Clark in some capacity, speaking of Clinton era blowhards?
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    How does the counsil feel about this organization? I really do not know eneogh to have an opinion, but the names that I did recognize did not make me think "oh no, not that blowhard" like most of the advisors from early in the Bush administration did. Some of Clinton's "advisors" also had the same effect for me. Any word on if Obama is going to use Clark in some capacity, speaking of Clinton era blowhards?
    Reed
    Clark was solidly in the Clinton camp during the primary, and said nasty things about Obama. I doubt we'll see him get appointed.
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    Default Reed, I know a couple

    of the CNAS folk. John Nagl is a friend; he is "wicked smart." He is also very knowledgeable about COIN and was a principal author of 3-24. If he were to become ASD-SO/LIC (as the article speculates) it would enhance the profile of LIC (SASO/MOOTW/Small Wars and the 100 other names). But, I'm not sure that John has the full confidence of the sOF community - it is something he would have to earn.

    The other person I know is Michelle Flournoy. I met her when she was Principal DASD for Strategy (and Sarah Sewell, now at Harvard, was DASD for PKO) and I was doing a couple of research papers under contract for her office. She was extremely impressive. I saw her again at a conference in DC when she was working at CSIS and was again impressed. I think she would make a superb SECDEF (if the new Admin couldn't work something out with Gates) - more likely would be USD-Policy where she would be outstanding.

    While I don't know Nate Fick, his book, ONE BULLET AWAY, is excellent and Nagl is quite high on him.

    To get a better feel for all these people, look at the CNAS website and read some of their papers.

    Hope this is useful.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    Some more wild speculation from around the Web:

    Frank Riccardione as new U.S. ambassador to Iraq?

    Possible CIA heads: Jane Harman, Tony Lake, Tim Roemer, John Brennan?

    James Steinberg for National Security Advisor? Other names in the mix for prominent national security and diplomatic positions: Susan Rice, former USMC commandant James L. Jones, Richard Lugar, John Kerry, Richard Danzig (most likely new SecDef), Ashton Carter.

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    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default While the top tier appointments certainly are important...

    key are the meat-and-potatos ASD/DASD positions. I'll be interested to see who becomes ASD(SO/LIC-IC) should Mike Vickers leave and DASD(SOC) should Gunner Sepp also depart and who will be tapped to fill in the remaining three ASD slots in that shop.

    Which also begs the question, there's a DASD(SOC) but no DASD(COIN) or a DASD(LIC). I may just point that out and suggest one be created...
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Some more wild speculation from around the Web:

    Frank Riccardione as new U.S. ambassador to Iraq?

    Possible CIA heads: Jane Harman, Tony Lake, Tim Roemer, John Brennan?

    James Steinberg for National Security Advisor? Other names in the mix for prominent national security and diplomatic positions: Susan Rice, former USMC commandant James L. Jones, Richard Lugar, John Kerry, Richard Danzig (most likely new SecDef), Ashton Carter.
    I know Susan and as she has already been Assistant Sec State for Africa, I would guess she is in the running for Sec State or US Ambassador to the UN. She was excellebt when I worked with her; she was to me one of the few really bright spots in the Clinton foreign policy arena.

    We will see.

    Tom

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    Default There used to be

    a DASD for LIC (or maybe just a Director but there were no DASDs at the time).

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Wink You're a master of understatment...

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    of the CNAS folk. John Nagl is a friend; he is "wicked smart." He is also very knowledgeable about COIN and was a principal author of 3-24. If he were to become ASD-SO/LIC (as the article speculates) it would enhance the profile of LIC (SASO/MOOTW/Small Wars and the 100 other names).But, I'm not sure that John has the full confidence of the sOF community - it is something he would have to earn. (emphasis added /kw)
    I think there's more to it than them having confidence in him. While we all decry parochiality, in the end most of us tend to be a least a little so inclined -- some are, through sad experience, a great deal inclined that way...

    While smarts count, experience and a degree of anointation (< new word...) are uh, highly desirable if not borderline mandatory. There. Now we've both understated.

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    Default

    Here are some more potentials for intelligence and national security positions.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Sigh. Good news, I guess. Only half of those names

    are scary. It coulda been worse...

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Default

    I was asked by an anonymous entity from DOD (republican appointee) if I would accept a low (basement) level appointment. The nature of the request is moot. What I thought was interesting though was a republican appointee may be helping find future democrat appointees. It would seem to me in the trenches the political sillyness is a bit tempered by mission needs.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Usually is...

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    ... It would seem to me in the trenches the political sillyness is a bit tempered by mission needs.
    Only in the elective position arenas does the partisan stupidity generally get overpoweringly disgusting and unhelpful. You get a few appointees who get caught up in that but most really do not. Congress and the WH and their respective staffers are problematic, though, no question.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Foreign Policy's The Dream Team

    "... we asked 10 of the world’s top thinkers to name the unlikely team that can best guide No. 44 through the turbulent years ahead."

    Surprisingly enough, not one of these thinkers agreed on who would best fill the job of Director of National Intelligence.

    However, some of my personal favorites among the choices are:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger *BONUS PICK
    Secretary for Energy and the Environment
    The Governator has proven himself to be a get-the-job-done environmentalist who commands international respect. To address this increasingly vital area properly, the next president must view energy and the environment as two sides of the same coin.

    Sarah Palin *BONUS PICK

    U.S. Ambassador to Russia
    The governor’s taste for hunting, plain-spoken talk, and foxy boots—not to mention long years of staring at Russia from Alaska—ensure a special relationship with Putin.
    This pick will definitely make life more interesting at Foggy Bottom and at posts around the world

    Bill Clinton
    Secretary of State

    There is no more popular American in the world than the former president, and no one else with comparable energy, knowledge, experience, and credibility to undo the negative stereotypes that have grown out of Washington’s conduct after 9/11.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    "... we asked 10 of the world’s top thinkers to name the unlikely team that can best guide No. 44 through the turbulent years ahead."

    Surprisingly enough, not one of these thinkers agreed on who would best fill the job of Director of National Intelligence.

    However, some of my personal favorites among the choices are:



    This pick will definitely make life more interesting at Foggy Bottom and at posts around the world
    Interesting almost most of them selected Robert Gates to continue as SecDef ...
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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Interesting almost most of them selected Robert Gates to continue as SecDef ..
    That was an easy one. Less so was the Sec State, and some of the others. Since it was allot like Fantasy Football, I decided to go with the write in option on several of them. I was thinking Zinni for State. I heard him speak up at Carlisle and was impressed.

    Best Rob

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    REPORT LAYS OUT 10 PRIORITIES FOR OBAMA'S DEFENSE SECRETARY, by Christopher J. Castelli. Inside the Pentagon, Vol. 24, No. 46, 13 November 2008. (PDF)
    Improving the Pentagon's acquisition performance as well as its processes for strategic guidance, programming and budgeting should be top priorities for the new administration, according to a new report on transition issues from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    Inside the Pentagon reviewed an advance copy of the report, which says the study team focused on crafting recommendations that would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the next defense secretary.

    Kathleen Hicks spearheaded the review for CSIS. The think tank is led by John Hamre, who also chairs the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and is reportedly being considered for an Obama administration post.

    Michèle Flournoy, who co-chairs the Obama camp's DOD transition team, was one of the defense experts consulted by CSIS during the review.

    The study lays out 10 top priorities in order of what is most important to fix at the Pentagon. Bolstering acquisition performance leads the list. The defense secretary "must focus the acquisition community on institutionalizing recent guidance, restoring a defense acquisition workforce, and providing cost realism in setting program requirements," the report says.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    I would have have liked to see Ken considered for SECDEF but I seriously doubt that the Obama administration would be comfortable initiating the rendition protocols that would be required to get him into the job.

    SFC W

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    That was an easy one. Less so was the Sec State, and some of the others. Since it was allot like Fantasy Football, I decided to go with the write in option on several of them. I was thinking Zinni for State. I heard him speak up at Carlisle and was impressed.

    Best Rob
    I think Zinni would be a great SecState. Pragmatic and grounded.
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