The three U.S. military service chiefs have been dropped in the doomsday line of Pentagon succession, pushed beneath three civilian undersecretaries in Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's inner circle.Either way, it's in keeping with the pattern and practice of this Administration.
A little-noticed, holiday-week executive order from President George W. Bush moved the Pentagon's intelligence chief to the No. 3 spot in the succession hierarchy behind Rumsfeld. The second spot would be the deputy secretary of defence but that position currently is vacant. The army chief, which long held the No. 3 spot, was dropped to sixth.
The changes, announced last week, are the second in six months and mirror the administration's new emphasis on intelligence-gathering versus combat in 21st-century warfare.
Technically, the line of succession is assigned to specific positions, rather than the individuals holding those jobs.
But in its current incarnation, the doomsday plan moves to near the top three undersecretaries who are Rumsfeld loyalists and previously worked for Vice-President Dick Cheney when he was defence secretary.
The changes were recommended, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, because the three undersecretaries have "a broad knowledge and perspective of overall Defence Department operations."
The service leaders are more focused on training, equipping and leading a particular military service, said Whitman.
Thomas Donnelly, a defence expert with the American Enterprise Institute, said the changes make it easier for the administration to assert political control and could lead to more narrow-minded decisions.
"It continues to devalue the services as institutions," said Donnelly, adding it will centralize power and shift it away from the services, where there is generally more military expertise and interest.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Is this a leak that needs to be investigated?
Bush is either preparing for impeachment, or cementing his power:
Posted by Rmj at 2:00 PM