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Hicks, Gregson Join Obama Pentagon

I was all set to present this as my newsbreak today, so it’s a good thing I swung by the subscription-only newsletter Inside The Pentagon before I embarrassed myself. Kathleen Hicks, an ex-Pentagon planning official and most recently a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is joining Michele Flournoy’s Pentagon policy directorate as deputy under secretary of defense in charge of planning, strategy and force development, a new position. Here’s how ITP explains it:

The Pentagon will combine the existing policy planning office that falls under the under secretary of defense for policy with the forces transformation and resources portfolio now under the purview of the special operations and low intensity conflict shop to create this new office, the DOD source added.

So it looks like Michael Vickers will have a chunk taken out of his shop as assistant secretary of defense for special operations, low intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities. It’ll be interesting to watch how Hicks conceives of “transformation,” an amorphous Rumsfeld-era term that in practice privileged technology over ground forces.

Similarly, ITP, building off reports from Chris Nelson’s influential newsletter The Nelson Report, says that retired Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson, former commander of U.S. Marine forces in the Pacific, is going to become assistant secretary of defense for Asia/Pacific affairs. Gregson is probably most famous for criticizing the concept of a “war on terrorism” while still on active duty in 2005. He’s on the board of the Center for a New American Security, Flournoy’s old stomping ground; Flournoy worked with Hicks during her previous job at CSIS.

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