White House Plans For New National Security Team
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
To learn more about the new lineup, we're joined now by NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman. Tom, good to have you here in the studio.
TOM BOWMAN: Good to be here.
NORRIS: Let's take these one at a time if we can, first Leon Panetta for the Pentagon. What does he bring to that job?
BOWMAN: And also, maybe more importantly, Panetta brings a lot of budget experience. He ran the Office of Management and Budget in the White House under President Clinton. He ran the Budget Committee in the House of Representatives. And now that President Obama wants to cut $400 billion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade or so, Panetta might just be the guy to do that.
NORRIS: So that's the Pentagon. Why General Petraeus to replace Leon Panetta at the CIA?
BOWMAN: And, you know, in the Hill, he's highly respected by Republican lawmakers. So that makes it even more of a problem for someone like Petraeus in that job.
NORRIS: Challenging dynamic for the commander-in-chief.
NORRIS: So if General Petraeus wasn't going to get the top military job at the Pentagon that then left the CIA. But does he have the right background for the top intelligence job?
BOWMAN: The other thing is that, you know, Petraeus brings to this job - he worked closely with CIA operatives on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the secret people who run around on the ground. Also he's very familiar with the drone strikes going on in Pakistan. So, you know, he's no stranger to the agency.
NORRIS: So if we continue this game of musical chairs, if General Petraeus leaves his post as the top commander in Afghanistan, who fills in behind him?
BOWMAN: And many people credit that Sunni awakening with really turning the war around and bringing the violence down. So maybe now he and Ambassador Crocker can try that political effort again in Afghanistan.
NORRIS: Some of these moves were signaled weeks and even months ago. When will all this happen?
BOWMAN: And as far as in Afghanistan, the change in command there, they're looking at some time in early September.
NORRIS: Thank you, Tom.
BOWMAN: You're welcome.
NORRIS: That's NPR's Tom Bowman.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.