In a move long expected, Dr Robert Gates, secretary of Defence who said he would retire by summer 2011 has had his resignation accepted and will formally leave DoD on 30 June.
President Obama nominated director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta, 72, as the new head of DoD, pending confirmation. At the same time President Obama nominated General David Petraeus as new CIA director. Apparently, “Convincing Panetta to leave the CIA to replace Gates wasn’t easy, the official confirmed. For weeks, Panetta has been rumored to be switching jobs, but sources said he had been skeptical about leaving his current role”, it seems to have been agreed at the last minute with, “Panetta finally agreed to move to the top Pentagon slot during a talk with Obama on Monday [25 April] evening, the senior official said”.
While at the CIA, the report notes that “Petraeus, will cross over from being a user of intelligence to leading the nation’s top collector of strategic information. Petraeus is perhaps America’s most heralded general since former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell, who later served as secretary of State”.
It has been noted however that Secretary Panetta would continue with the cuts already being implemented, saying that he “is expected by analysts to be more receptive than Gates to finding funds in the Pentagon’s core $530 billion budget that could be put toward deficit trimming. Gates said earlier this year that the Defense Department needed a minimum of $540 billion in fiscal 2011, about $10 billion more than was ultimately approved by Congress and signed into law by Obama. Panetta has relationships and a public service record that could help him surmount Capitol Hill’s reluctance to cut arms programs, which would mean less jobs in some congressional districts”.
This negation of the common good must be halted, if Panetta can continue with this important work he will deserve much credit.