Leon Panetta

Panetta’s Challenge

CIA chief Leon Panetta goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday like one of those guys on the old Ed Sullivan show trying to keep all those plates spinning atop wooden poles, running from one to another to keep them from falling to the floor and smashing to bits.

These are his goals:

Oprah v. Gates: The Long Goodbye

Oprah Winfrey recently concluded her farewell tour as America’s most popular television talk show. Her exit from the show spanned two calendar years, with the farewell season beginning in September 2010.

After heading the Department of Defense for four and a half years, Robert Gates seems intent on following Oprah’s lead. For …

The Army Is Running The Show

President Obama doubled down on the Army Monday, picking an Army general as chairman of the Joint Chiefs — after picking another one to run the CIA, and a third — a one-time low-level Army lawyer — to run the Pentagon. There may be lots of red, white and blue around the capital today, but it felt more like red, white and Army …

The Outing of the SEALs Has SecDef Ticked Off

Remember when then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld got that question about “hillbilly armor” in 2004 from a soldier in Kuwait complaining about lousy protection for troops in the war in Iraq? And Rumsfeld’s timeless response: “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have.”

It turns out the question, from a member of …

Panetta’s Challenge

When the President announced his new national security team last week most of the attention focused on David Petraeus at CIA and the problem of winding down the war in Afghanistan. Leon Panetta’s nomination as Secretary of Defense went almost unnoticed, by comparison.

But Panetta has the bigger challenge: how to manage a build down in …

CBO Defense Option #6

This is our final selection from the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on cutting federal spending, by slicing Pentagon programs among other things. It calls for dropping one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers, and one of the 10 air wings that supply them with aircraft. Total savings, in outlays, over the next five years is …

Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss.

I remember when Harold Brown was Jimmy Carter’s defense secretary. Heck, I remember when Bob McNamara was JFK’s defense secretary, so let me rephrase that: I covered Harold Brown as Jimmy Carter’s defense secretary.

There’s been a flurry of reports over the last couple of days about how the shift of Leon …

Panetta’s Pentagon Challenge

Over the past decade, the Pentagon has been run by a bully, a bureaucrat and, soon, a budget-cutter. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and incumbent Robert Gates had their pluses and minuses, but neither could wield a budget scalpel like Leon Panetta, who President Obama is slated to nominate as the nation’s 23rd defense …

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