More On Nunn
To build on DeLong’s great Sam Nunn post… actually, it’s hard, because he said a lot of what I wanted to say.
So one thing. In comments to a post I wrote on Bob Gates yesterday, commenter Fit4Service pointed out, “It is hard to visualize Gates staying on as Secretary of Defense for one year unless he is allowed to also retain most of his senior staff.” And that’s a great point I hadn’t considered. How could Barack Obama really ask Gates to stay but deny him his associates? On the other hand, can you really imagine ex-Cheney aide Eric Edelman remaining on as undersecretary of defense for policy in an Obama administration?
That’s where Nunn would really have utility. Few people who’ve never been secretary of defense know more about the workings of the Pentagon. He’ll know what key positions Obama needs to fill with his own people — and, especially if Gates is asked to remain for a year, which jobs Gates can keep for his loyalists and still retain an orderly, if unorthodox Pentagon. If there’s one thing Nunn understands, it’s integration: after all, he helped create the landmark Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which consolidated the armed services and invented the modern Pentagon.