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Does Anyone Want To Be The Secretary Of Defense?

The Pentagon January 2008.jpg

Senator Jack Reed has followed former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy in taking himself out of consideration for being the next Secretary of Defense. Reed, who was the frontrunner, said he was not interested in the job shortly after the previous frontrunner, Flournoy, dropped out of the selection process to determine who would replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who announced his resignation last week.

Reed is the current US Senator from Rhode Island and was previously an officer in the US Army. Flournoy had served as under secretary for policy under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta from 2009 to 2012 and now works for Boston Consulting Group and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Secretary of Defense is generally considered one of the most prestigious jobs in Washington, but two high profile withdrawals from ambitious DC insiders raises questions over whether anyone wants to step into the minefield over at the Pentagon. The hesitation could be for any number of reasons but high on the list has to be the example of Chuck Hagel getting humiliatingly fired by President Obama. Hagel was not only summarily fired but officials from the Obama Administration took to the press to smear Hagel as incompetent and ineffective in order to justify Obama’s actions on nonpartisan lines. Hagel was the only cabinet level Republican in the administration.

Another reason to not be so eager about stepping into the role is America’s current Middle East policy or lack thereof. In Iraq, Obama is sending in troops handfuls at a time while desperately trying to get the Shitte dominated government to find a way to work something out with the Sunnis so they stop supporting ISIS. In Syria, Obama is trying to destroy ISIS while also claiming to want to overthrow ISIS’ primary enemy, the Assad government. And in Afghanistan, Obama felt the need to reverse a publicly stated pledge and sign US forces up for at least another year of combat duty. Throw in a languishing “pivot to Asia”, an ever-expanding footprint in Africa, a less obedient South America, and financing that makes Hollywood look transparent and the prestige of being saluted entering the White House loses some of its luster.

Nonetheless, there are new frontrunners. Current Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and former Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter are now at the top of the list. We’ll see if they stay in the running.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Does Anyone Want To Be The Secretary Of Defense?

The Pentagon January 2008.jpg

Senator Jack Reed has followed former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy in taking himself out of consideration for being the next Secretary of Defense. Reed, who was the frontrunner, said he was not interested in the job shortly after the previous frontrunner, Flournoy, dropped out of the selection process to determine who would replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who announced his resignation last week.

Reed is the current US Senator from Rhode Island and was previously an officer in the US Army. Flournoy had served as under secretary for policy under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta from 2009 to 2012 and now works for Boston Consulting Group and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Secretary of Defense is generally considered one of the most prestigious jobs in Washington, but two high profile withdrawals from ambitious DC insiders raises questions over whether anyone wants to step into the minefield over at the Pentagon. The hesitation could be for any number of reasons but high on the list has to be the example of Chuck Hagel getting humiliatingly fired by President Obama. Hagel was not only summarily fired but officials from the Obama Administration took to the press to smear Hagel as incompetent and ineffective in order to justify Obama’s actions on nonpartisan lines. Hagel was the only cabinet level Republican in the administration.

Another reason to not be so eager about stepping into the role is America’s current Middle East policy or lack thereof. In Iraq, Obama is sending in troops handfuls at a time while desperately trying to get the Shiite dominated government to find a way to work something out with the Sunnis so they stop supporting ISIS. In Syria, Obama is trying to destroy ISIS while also claiming to want to overthrow ISIS’ primary enemy, the Assad government. And in Afghanistan, Obama felt the need to reverse a publicly stated pledge and sign US forces up for at least another year of combat duty. Throw in a languishing “pivot to Asia”, an ever-expanding footprint in Africa, a less obedient South America, and financing that makes Hollywood look transparent and the prestige of being saluted entering the White House loses some of its luster.

Nonetheless, there are new frontrunners. Current Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and former Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter are now at the top of the list. We’ll see if they stay in the running.

Photo by David B. Gleason under Creative Commons license

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.