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Good Candidates in Line to Replace Hagel

By    |   Monday, 24 Nov 2014 05:03 PM

The resignation under pressure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from the Obama Cabinet leaves a gaping hole in the administration, but pundits agree the president has a well-qualified contingent of contenders to replace him close at hand.

Topping everyone's list would be a "first" to replace Hagel: Michele Flournoy, an Obama and Clinton administration veteran with extensive Pentagon experience, who would, if chosen and confirmed, become the first female secretary of defense, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Flournoy, 53, served as undersecretary of defense for policy. She is co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, but is expecting a call-up to be on Hillary Clinton's national security team, The Hill notes, and may prefer waiting for that nod to becoming Obama's secretary of defense.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has backed Obama on his policies for dealing with the Islamic State (ISIS), although he has opposed the administration on providing weapons to the Ukrainian military and other defense matters. His Senate term is up in January, The Hill notes, and he has said he hopes to leave Washington at that time.

Ashton Carter was number two at the Pentagon as deputy defense secretary until he resigned after being passed over for secretary of defense for Hagel, the Washington Post notes.

Carter was a budget force at the Pentagon, lowering spending in weapons development programs and dealing with budget cuts brought about by sequestration, The Hill reports.

Robert Work, a retired Marine colonel who currently serves as deputy defense secretary, is on the list, and previously served as undersecretary of the Navy. He is also chairman of the Nuclear Deterrent Review Group and deals with management of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the Post reports.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a West Point graduate and retired Army Ranger, was said to be on the short list, but Reed has declined being considered for the post, The Hill reports.

Reed's spokesman told the Journal, "Sen. Reed loves his job and wants to continue serving the people of Rhode Island in the United States Senate. He has made it very clear that he does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other Cabinet position. He just asked the people of Rhode Island to hire him for another six-year term and plans on honoring that commitment."

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., who currently is top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, is another possible choice, The Hill reports, and has backed the administration's policies on ISIS and on refusing to send ground troops in to deal with the terrorist group. He is a member of the committee investigating the Benghazi attacks.

No matter who is chosen, the nominee likely will undergo a grueling confirmation process before a Republican-controlled Senate in January. Hagel will stay on until his successor is chosen and confirmed, MSNBC reported.

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The resignation under pressure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from the Obama Cabinet leaves a gaping hole in the administration, but pundits agree the president has a well-qualified contingent of contenders to replace him close at hand.
resignation, Chuck Hagel, contenders, replace
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2014-03-24
Monday, 24 Nov 2014 05:03 PM
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