Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Coming to Pass: SecDef Gates to Remain?

News reports are suggesting today that it is all but confirmed that current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will stay at his post through 2009 as part of the Obama Administration.

Back in September, I had noted,

"[B]oth presidential candidates might consider asking Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to remain in office not simply through January but to a later point in the calendar for 2009; to ensure continuity and to provide a more stable and structured way to initiate the transition. This would also mean, particularly in that critical point between Election Day in November 2008 and Inauguration Day in January 2009, that there would be a senior figure with whom other countries could have confidence that any arrangements reached with the United States would not be measured with a shelf life of only a few weeks. ... Secretary Gates seems to be a figure that both of the presidential candidates could work with, and who would be able to assist in a much more seamless, less chaotic transition. It is perhaps an unorthodox idea to consider, particularly considering Washington’s political culture, but these are uncertain times—and the next administration is not going to be given a honeymoon period to get up to speed on the critical issues of the day."

This appears to be the logic at work. It certainly strengthens the U.S. position to have this type of continuity. One cannot also not ignore the domestic ramifications; of letting the previous administration's defense secretary continuing to oversee the wars initiated by the previous administration.

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