- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
- In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream
- Ukraine PM vows to find ‘bastards’ behind anti-Semitic fliers
- Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
Pentagon insiders preferred another over Hagel
Flournoy earned nonpartisan trust
As Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s expected exit drew closer over the past year, several senior Pentagon officers expressed admiration for Michele Flournoy, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for policy from 2009 to February last year.
Now the Pentagon is bracing for a potential new boss who spent 12 years in the Senate and currently oversees a Washington foreign policy think tank but whose agenda for the armed services is murky at best.
“Many were excited at the prospect of Michele Flournoy because she had previously garnered a great deal of trust and respect, and was not thought to be a political animal seeking change for change’s sake,” an Army officer who is assigned to the Pentagon and who fought in Afghanistan told The Washington Times. “Hagel, on the other hand, is a source of concern to many who perceive him to come to the position with a blind ambition.”
President Obama has nominated Mr. Hagel to succeed Mr. Panetta amid growing protests from Senate Republicans who view the chairman of the Atlantic Council as being too soft on Iran and too hard on Israel.
Mr. Hagel arrived in the Senate as a conservative Nebraska Republican who voted for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He left in 2009 as an Obama ally and one of the fiercest critics of President Bush on nearly every aspect of foreign policy, especially on dealing with the Islamist state of Iran, for which he advocates unconditional talks and U.S. business investment.
“He had turned left of left by then,” said a source familiar with policy board meetings. “I guess it is the influence of the Obama administration. He spoke against military interventions, especially Iran.”
Mr. Hagel’s detailed views on the use of power, the $633 billion defense budget and the size of the military will come more into focus during Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings.
He would inherit a department that is grappling with $480 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years and the prospect of a further $485 billion reduction through a process called sequestration. Mr. Panetta’s first round of cuts kept most major weapon systems, including the increasingly costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Even if Congress and the White House reach a deal to scuttle sequestration, another agreement likely would require some additional cuts and present Mr. Hagel with immediate budget decisions.
The past three defense secretaries — Donald H. Rumsfeld, Robert M. Gates and Mr. Panetta — had war as their top priority.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- Hillary Clinton all but erased from tragic story of the attack in Benghazi
- Indiana assured that Pakistani firm working to thwart bomb makers
- Doubts on military's sex assault stats as numbers far exceed those for the U.S.
- Political hunt for sex abusers puts military justice in peril, lawyers say
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.