A National Security Apparatus in Decline

The deck chairs on the ship of state are being rearranged once more.  Robert Gates is out to pasture after a career at CIA followed by a shorter tenure at DOD.  Leon Panetta, former California congressman and incumbent spymaster, is replacing Gates at the Pentagon.  And General David Patraeus is retreating from Kabul for a sinecure as Panetta's successor at CIA.  None are likely to rock the boat in their new positions.  Unlike Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld, the top tier of the Obama administration are the grey men of national security -- unremarkable and unimaginative. Indeed, under Robert Gates, the Department of Defense took a page from the Department of Education's game plan: cooking the books at the tactical level and diminishing expectations at the strategic level. Gates orchestrated four wars and won none.  He may also be the first SecDef to turn the Joint Chiefs, with the assistance of Admiral Mike Mullen, into an E-Ring version of the...(Read Full Article)