Journal: Newsweek on SecDef Departure

10 Security
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Why Gates Seems Set on a 2011 Departure, by Jim Watson. So Robert Gates is set on retiring from government – for the second time. Or so he says. In an interview with ForeignPolicy.com, he has repeated more firmly than ever his desire to resign as secretary of defense sometime in 2011.

Why would he decide on 2011, and not 2010 or 2012? Strange but true: the arcane workings of the Pentagon budget process are one of the key factors behind his timing. Drawing up the annual defense budget – especially one now totaling $719 billion – is so complex that each exercise actually takes close to two years. Thus, the defense budget for 2012, the last year of President Obama’s term in office, is already taking shape. Its unveiling in February of next year will place a capstone on Gates’s extraordinary career.

Phi Beta Iota: The magazine appears poorly informed on several fronts, and most obviously, fails to recognize Senator Chuck Hagel as a possible successor to Gates.  Whoever it is, they are going to have to come in with a strategic analytic perspective that gives them a grip on reality, and an absolute non-negotiable mandate from Congress and the President to re-do Title 10 while also redirecting the CINCdoms into Whole of Government multinational information-sharing and sense-making networks.  Leon Panetta?  Why not Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod?