News / USA

    Analysts: US National Security Shakeup Comes at Critical Time

    Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, center, pauses as he speaks about US troops, as President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary-nominee Leon Panetta listen, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, April 28, 2011
    Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, center, pauses as he speaks about US troops, as President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary-nominee Leon Panetta listen, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, April 28, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Meredith Buel

    U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday announced a major shakeup of his national security team. Analysts say the move comes during a critical period in the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

    The president said he is nominating CIA Director Leon Panetta as the next defense secretary and Army General David Petraeus to succeed Panetta as CIA chief.

    Anthony Cordesman, a military and intelligence analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the personnel changes come during a particularly complicated moment in Washington. "At a time of extreme partisan bitterness, growing debate over the Afghan war and what is going to be a self-seeking jockeying for political advantage over every aspect of the federal budget, which is going to last at least through 2012."

    Panetta will take over at the Pentagon from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is expected to retire in June, and has received generally positive reviews for his management of the CIA.

    Rick Nelson is a retired U.S. Navy helicopter pilot with more than 20 years experience in military operations, including assignments at the National Security Council and the National Counterterrorism Center.

    He said Panetta is a good choice to lead the Department of Defense, which is facing budget cuts and a drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. "He was able to go into the CIA at a very critical time, as an outsider, win over the workforce there and lead the CIA back into pretty positive territory. I think that says a lot about him as a leader, as a manager, particularly as someone who can operate inside the Washington, D.C. bureaucracy. So going over to the Pentagon, he is going to be able to play those skills further."

    With the CIA and Defense Department appointments, senior Obama administration officials say the president wants to continue current policies.

    General Petraeus is not expected to leave his post as commander of NATO and head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan until he implements the first phase of President Obama’s expected gradual withdrawal of forces, set to begin in July.

    Petraeus is expected to retire from the Army before becoming director at the CIA.

    As CIA director, Panetta has supervised a sharp increase in the agency’s bombing campaign in Pakistan. U.S. officials have never publicly acknowledged the use of drone airstrikes in Pakistan, but privately they have confirmed their existence to various news outlets.

    Petraeus has used Special Operations troops to conduct secret intelligence missions in Afghanistan.

    John McLaughlin served at the CIA for three decades and is a former acting director of the agency. He said the Petraeus appointment comes at a time of increasing cooperation between the CIA and the Pentagon.

    "I think it is a good appointment. I think the CIA will find General Petraeus very compatible with the agency culture. His background is interesting. Most people do not realize he has a Ph.D., for example. He is a soldier-scholar. So he is well prepared to be comfortable on both the operational and the analytic sides of the CIA," said McLaughlin.

    The president is nominating Ryan Crocker, a former ambassador to Pakistan and Iraq, to replace Karl Eikenberry as ambassador to Afghanistan.

    Lieutenant General John Allen, the deputy chief of Central Command, will replace Petraeus as commander of U.S. and international military forces.

    Cordesman points out these changes come at a critical time of transition in Afghanistan.

    "So virtually all of the U.S. country team is going to be changing at the top as we go into one of the most critical [military] campaign seasons and at a time when it is obvious that American support for the war is steadily diminishing," said Cordesman.

    Obama's nominations all require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora