Senate Considers Nominees for Pentagon Posts

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011 — Two of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s nom­i­nees for key Defense Depart­ment posts appeared before the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee today as part of their con­fir­ma­tion process.
Michael G. Vick­ers, nom­i­nat­ed to be under­sec­re­tary of defense for intel­li­gence, and Jo Ann Rooney, the president’s choice to be prin­ci­pal deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for per­son­nel and readi­ness, both pledged to sup­port Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ “effi­cien­cy ini­tia­tives” to cut unnec­es­sary expen­di­tures and redi­rect the sav­ings to sup­port the wars and warfight­ers and their fam­i­lies.

Vick­ers has been assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for spe­cial oper­a­tions and low-inten­si­ty con­flict since 2007. In that time, he not­ed, his office saved mon­ey by par­ing down joint intel­li­gence oper­a­tions cen­ters, which had grown to include thou­sands of per­son­nel at every com­mand, as well as stream­lin­ing oth­er efforts.

“Intel­li­gence is very impor­tant, … but it’s also an area that the Amer­i­can peo­ple and Con­gress invest a lot of trea­sure, so we have to make sure it’s as effi­cient as pos­si­ble,” he said.

On Afghanistan, he echoed Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ fre­quent­ly stat­ed con­cern that the Unit­ed States can­not repeat the mis­take of becom­ing dis­en­gaged to the point that ter­ror­ists are giv­en safe haven in the coun­try.

“The core ele­ment of our pol­i­cy is to deny any sanc­tu­ary to ter­ror­ists,” he said.

Intel­li­gence shows dis­cord among insur­gents in Afghanistan who have been told to fight through the harsh win­ter there while their lead­ers hole up in Pak­istan.

“A lot of local [insur­gent] com­man­ders have been vot­ing with their feet, essen­tial­ly say­ing ‘I’ve had enough of this,’ ” Vick­ers said. He added that insur­gents join the fight for many rea­sons, often relat­ed to eco­nom­ics more than ide­ol­o­gy, and there­fore are more will­ing to walk away than the lead­ers.

Vick­ers told the sen­a­tors that one of his biggest chal­lenges if he’s con­firmed will be ensur­ing that intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion is prop­er­ly pro­tect­ed while it’s shared as wide­ly as pos­si­ble.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is work­ing toward per­sis­tent sur­veil­lance in Afghanistan, Vick­ers said, and infor­ma­tion shar­ing has been a chal­lenge among the 50 nations there, part­ly because 29 dif­fer­ent net­works for shar­ing infor­ma­tion exist­ed until recent­ly.

“There is an inher­ent ten­sion between this respon­si­bil­i­ty and need to know, to pro­tect­ing our sources, while mak­ing sure we get time­ly infor­ma­tion into the hands of our warfight­ers,” he said.

Vick­ers also acknowl­edged that many insur­gents return to the fight after being cap­tured. Of about 600 who have been held at the deten­tion cen­ter in Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba, at least 150 have returned to the fight, often in ele­vat­ed posi­tions, he said.

Vick­ers called such recidi­vism “a vex­ing prob­lem with no obvi­ous solu­tion.”

“The paths they take are based on the cir­cum­stances of their release,” he said, adding that it hap­pens in mul­ti­ple coun­tries, includ­ing Pak­istan and Yemen.

If she’s con­firmed as the Pentagon’s No. 2 leader for per­son­nel and readi­ness, Rooney said, her chal­lenges would include ensur­ing that com­pen­sa­tion, train­ing, health care and oth­er sup­port to ser­vice mem­bers and civil­ians are prop­er­ly aligned in an era of tight­en­ing bud­gets.

Rooney, whose most recent posi­tion was as the pres­i­dent of Mount Ida Col­lege in Mass­a­chu­setts, is an attor­ney with a long career in the pri­vate sec­tor and acad­e­mia. She said she has proven her abil­i­ty to tran­si­tion between diverse sec­tors, not­ing that she was a busi­ness exec­u­tive before tran­si­tion­ing to aca­d­e­m­ic lead­er­ship roles.

“The way I assim­i­lat­ed into that cul­ture was to be a per­pet­u­al stu­dent, which is what I would do here. … My expe­ri­ence in the past shows I def­i­nite­ly can make that trans­for­ma­tion and dive in with pas­sion to learn that new role,” she said.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →