Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rep. Adam Smith on Changes to National Security Team

There has been a lot of bipartisan support for the changes Obama's proposing to his national security team. Even Mitch McConnell has issued a statement saying "the President is to be commended for choosing competence and continuity in asking General Petraeus to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense." This seems to suggest that Obama's nominees won't face too much resistance as they go through the nomination process.

As I've been covering events on the Hill, I've quickly learned that the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), is someone who is extremely knowledgeable about military issues and isn't simply going to praise Obama because he's a Democrat. He's also had to worked closely with both Leon Panetta and General Petraeus through the various committee assignments he has. So while the approval process for the nominees only goes through the Senate, I wanted to take a moment and highlight the statement Rep. Smith made in response to Obama’s decision to nominate current CIA Director Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, Gen. Petraeus as Director of the CIA, General John Allen, Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan and Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan.
"Secretary Gates has done a tremendous job and his leadership will missed. Replacing him will not be easy, but Leon Panetta has the professionalism, knowledge and support to step in and do a tremendous job. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I worked closely with Leon Panetta and his team. He did a great job as Director of the CIA and I am confident he has the skills and know-how to do a great job as Secretary of Defense.

“I have also worked closely with General Petraeus in my capacity on the House Armed Services Committee. He has shown strong leadership in a number of high level national security positions and I have no doubt that he will continue that effective leadership as Director of the CIA.

"The additional nominations of General John Allen to Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan and Ryan Crocker to Ambassador to Afghanistan will add two more respected and seasoned leaders to the President's national security team.

"Together these four nominations will bring together a strong team of experienced leaders and I look forward to working with them as we continue to address the significant national security challenges our country faces today.”

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