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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid