The Cable

Names: Pentagon

With four top Obama Pentagon nominees recently confirmed -- Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, under secretary of defense for policy Michèle Flournoy, Robert Hale as Pentagon comptroller, and Jeh Johnson as Pentagon general counsel -- there are still three more under secretaries (intelligence, acquisitions/technology/logistics, and personnel and readiness) and a host of assistant secretaries to be officially named. In total, the Defense Department has 49 presidential appointments that require Senate confirmation.

Sources tell The Cable that Ashton Carter is expected to be named soon as under secretary of defense for acquisitions, technology, and logistics. The position oversees the military technology the Pentagon buys, as well as missile defense. Carter, a Harvard Kennedy School professor and former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, has worked closely with former Defense Secretary William Perry on acquisition reform, 21st century threats, and the North Korea nuclear problem. He declined to comment.

  • Sources inform The Cable of several other likely Pentagon appointments: Janine Davidson as deputy assistant secretary of defense on strategy/planning.
  • Theresa Whelan staying on as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Africa.
  • Lawyer, former soldier, and blogger Phil Carter, who did outreach for the Obama campaign to veterans, as DASD for detainee issues.
  • Craig Mullaney as DASD for Central Asia. (Andrew Exum has an interview with Mullaney.) Davidson, Whelan, and Carter did not respond to queries, Mullaney could not be reached. The Pentagon would not comment on possible appointments.

UPDATE: CSIS's director of Europe programs Julianne Smith is to take a senior Defense Department job dealing with Europe and NATO issues, a source says. Smith did not respond to a query.


The Cable

Obama statement on Afghanistan: Two more brigades

Statement by President Barack Obama on Afghanistan:

There is no more solemn duty as President than the decision to deploy our armed forces into harm’s way.  I do it today mindful that the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention and swift action.  The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda supports the insurgency and threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border.

To meet urgent security needs, I approved a request from Secretary Gates to deploy a Marine Expeditionary Brigade later this spring and an Army Stryker Brigade and the enabling forces necessary to support them later this summer. This increase has been requested by General McKiernan and supported by Secretary Gates, the Joint Chiefs and the Commander of Central Command. General McKiernan’s request for these troops is months old, and the fact that we are going to responsibly drawdown our forces in Iraq allows us the flexibility to increase our presence in Afghanistan.

This reinforcement will contribute to the security of the Afghan people and to stability in Afghanistan.  I recognize the extraordinary strain that this deployment places on our troops and military families. I honor their service, and will give them the support they need.

This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires. That is why I ordered a review of our policy upon taking office, so we have a comprehensive strategy and the necessary resources to meet clear and achievable objectives in Afghanistan and the region.  This troop increase does not pre-determine the outcome of that strategic review.  Instead, it will further enable our team to put together a comprehensive strategy that will employ all elements of our national power to fulfill achievable goals in Afghanistan.  As we develop our new strategic goals, we will do so in concert with our friends and allies as together we seek the resources necessary to succeed.