Darts and Laurels

November 21, 2013  

Fill DoD posts faster

AFJ_dartDART to the Obama administration for being slow to fill important senior Defense Department posts. When Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter steps down next month after five grinding years as DoD’s chief operating officer, will it take half a year to move his replacement into the office? This administration has been particularly slow to fill jobs, letting posts sit vacant for months, as it did with the Navy’s No. 2, and years for a confirmed Air Force acquisition chief.

A portion of the blame belongs as well to Senate Republicans, who have regularly objected to many nominees, including Carter and SecDef Chuck Hagel. Currently, Sen. Lindsey Graham has placed a blanket hold on political appointees, including the Air Force secretary and DoD’s top program and budget analyst, in protest of the White House’s handling of the Benghazi attack.

Like sequestration, this is a wasteful state of affairs. The Pentagon needs its top jobs filled. It will be interesting, in the wake of Sen. Harry Reid’s return to simple-majority voting on federal judges, to see whether DoD appointees move more quickly — or more slowly.