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The New Rules: Glass Half Full on Obama's New National Security Team

Monday, May 2, 2011

President Barack Obama reshuffled his national security team last week, and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The White House proclaimed that this was the "strongest possible team," leaving unanswered the question, "Toward what end?" Obama's choices represent the continued reduction of the role of security as an administration priority. That fits into his determined strategy to reduce America's overseas military commitments amid the country's ongoing fiscal distress. Obama foresees a smaller, increasingly background role for U.S. security in the world, and these selections feed that pattern.

First, there is Leon Panetta's move from director of the Central Intelligence Agency to secretary of defense. When you're looking for $400 billion in future military cuts, Panetta's credentials apply nicely: former White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton, and 9-term congressman from defense-heavy California. But, truth be told, Panetta wasn't the president's first choice -- or his second, third, fourth or fifth. ...

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