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Gates’ Team: Obama’s People, No Question

When last we left the question of who would staff a Gates Pentagon — GOP appointees or Obama’s people? — it looked pretty much like Obama would put his team in at the sub-cabinet level. Trusted defense adviser Richard Danzig would get the deputy secretary position and probably Michele Flournoy of the Center for a New American Security would get the undersecretaryship for policy. Now The Washington Post reports — via Matt Yglesias and Steve Benen — that not only is the deputy secretary, Gordon England, definitely leaving, all of Gates’ undersecretaries are.

Continuity is likely to come in the form of Gates and military commanders leading the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, while a new deputy and team of undersecretaries would manage the Pentagon and focus on longer-range issues such as “the budget, the Quadrennial Defense Review, missile defense, relations with allies and preparation for the next crisis,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

(Yes, yes, that O’Hanlon.) An interesting question that I’ll be looking at later this week, is what happens to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Donald Rumsfeld created that position for his chief acolyte, Steve Cambone, so he could consolidate control over the roughly 90 percent of the intelligence community located within the Defense Dept. Gates and Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, changed it to reflect greater defense/intelligence-community coordination. (It’s bureaucratic, but they made the current Pentagon undersecretary for intelligence also the DNI’s chief of defense intelligence.) Will the job change now that there’s a new administration? The Post indicates so:

There is a real issue about how to fully recuperate” that office from the Rumsfeld era, and it would require a “team player” to promote more effective cooperation with the rest of the intelligence community, one source close to the transition said.

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