Leon Panetta to Pentagon; Petraeus to CIA


panetta_1.jpgDavid Rothkopf wins the house pool. Leon Panetta will be the next SecDef.
Months ago Rothkopf and I met to discuss who might succeed Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. We made an extensive list on which some of the names were former Senator Chuck Hagel, current Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Flournoy, CSIS President and Defense Policy Review Board Chairman John Hamre, and General Electric Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
Leon Panetta was top of Rothkopf’s list — and I conceded at the time that there was not a better bureaucratic player who could re-engineer the Pentagon, solve still brewing intel sector battles with the CIA and Director of National Intelligence from a DoD perch, and have the capacity to muscle back the power of some tough generals and admirals.
We also thought that Jeffrey Immelt would have been an interesting choice given the fact that the overall manufacturing and technological competitiveness of the US are in jeopardy. Former Secretaries of Defense Harold Brown and William Perry had strong science and technological backgrounds — and Immelt’s nomination might have resurrected that tradition.
But Leon Panetta will be at the helm — and interestingly, General David Petraeus will succeed him.
Watch for Petraeus to focus on modifying the CIA’s role in supporting counter-insurgency challenges and drone-heavy terrorist disruption campaigns.
— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “Leon Panetta to Pentagon; Petraeus to CIA

  1. JohnH says:

    Ray McGovern on DemocracyNow commented that Petraeus will bring his Afghan war obfuscation to the CIA. If Obama was looking for an honest answer about what is happening in Afghanistan, Petraeus is the last person to ask–bringing the fog of war to the intelligence bureaucracies.


  2. Sand says:

    Any news on Jeremy Bash moving to the DoD? Jeremy Bash ex-AIPAC staffer — Jane Harman’s right hand man — flirted[?] with the idea of entering into congressional life using I-Lobby $$$ (see Forward story below) — son of a right wing *political* power house Rabbi etc. etc?
    ‘…Jeremy Bash, Panetta’s chief of staff at the CIA and a former colleague of Lettre’s on the staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also could become Panetta’s chief of staff at the Pentagon…”
    — Posted By Josh Rogin Wednesday, April 27, 2011 – 6:58 PM [The Cable]
    — Moran Seen To Face Primary Challenge [2003]
    Mr Walt’s comment:
    — Posted By Stephen M. Walt [April 27, 2011]
    “Rearranging the deck chairs”
    Stephen M. Walt” “…In short, there’s less here than meets the eye,…”


  3. DonS says:

    The headings say it all:
    “A more militarized CIA for a more militarized America”
    “Petraeus to CIA Completes Cheney


  4. DonS says:

    “He could have just outsourced all the CIA jobs.” (DanK)
    Just as long as the usual pols can keep the public mesmerized while the US slips into third world status with nary a whimper.
    After all, what’s more important, DOD and CIA, or health care and a stable standard of living?
    No one, no one, will puncture the security state con game.
    Maybe some courageous blogger???


  5. mike/ says:

    any idea if/and/or how the Repubs will react to this, or
    should we ask ‘block’ it given that their policy is to repel ALL
    things Obama?


  6. Dan Kervick says:

    “We also thought that Jeffrey Immelt would have been an interesting choice.”
    He could have just outsourced all the CIA jobs.


  7. non-hater says:

    I don’t care who ends up where as long as they come up with a plan for leaving Afghanistan, where 6 or 8 NATO soldiers were shot last night by an Afghan military pilot.


  8. Don Bacon says:

    The CIA with its contractors is becoming an accountable secret military force and Petraeus will be good at expanding that. One advantage of the concept is avoiding public budget hearings as well as those embarrassing KIA reports.


  9. Jacob says:

    I completely agree. I think that this is an excellent choice to lead the defense department. I cannot think of anyone else who has the bureaucratic agility and national security chops necessary to steer the Pentagon over the next several years. If are going to be required to do more with less, and take a pragmatic look at the defense budget– while fighting multiple wars– this is the man to do it.


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