Questions For DoD Nominees

Pan.bg 19 май 2015 | 10:25 views (2311) commentaries(0)
img Col. Valentin Tzvetanov, Pan.bg Editor's remark - This information has been taken from http://www.defensenews.com
John McCain appears to want to leave behind a robust legacy as Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) chairman. He set high expectations with an ambitious agenda.
The Arizona Republican's run with the SASC gavel likely will center on what he can accomplish on what we in the news business sometimes call "A1 issues" — those that regularly appear on the front pages of major newspapers
What to do, if anything, different with the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility? Should the lethal drone program be shifted from the CIA to the Defense Department? Can McCain help bring about the deal to increase annual DoD spending he so craves?
And if one believes what some political experts say about Democrats' odds of taking back the Senate in 2016, he might have only two years to leave his mark on national security policy.
But McCain's legacy also will be shaped by four men who will appear before his committee this summer: Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Army Gen. Mark Milley and Navy Adm. John Richardson. They are the White House's nominees to take over as Joint Chiefs chairman, Joint Chiefs vice chairman, Army chief and Navy chief. And McCain's SASC will get the chance to ask each important questions about their views when they sit for their confirmation hearings.
As a candidate, McCain campaigned on his "Straight Talk Express" bus. He should demand just that from the nominees on a range of questions, including these:
• Is the force really that broken? The Defense Department receives nearly $600 billion annually. Civilian and uniformed leaders say that's just not enough.
But even their allies, like the American Enterprise Institute's Mackenzie Eaglen, are ready to abandon the Pentagon's gloom-and-doom warnings about the true effects of defense spending caps.
Outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey garnered nary a headline with this jaw-dropping line about the caps' effects during a recent Senate hear­ing: "We'll probab­ly be almost 20 percent smaller from where we started when I became the chairman, and our forward presence will be reduced by more than a third."
The SASC chairman might ask if




a military that grew for Iraq and Afghanistan should shrink now that it's doing less.
• Can the US and Arab coalition really defeat the Islamic State with mostly airpower and only Iraqi and Syrian forces on the ground? And would US ground forces even do the job?
Americans and Washington's Arab partners deserve some Straight Talk from the nominees about just how operationally realistic is the White House's plan for defeating — or maybe it's mostly about containing — the violent Sunni group.
Sure, their answers could be dangerous for their careers. But if a military commander is skeptical — or worse, opposed — to a policy that might drag the US into another ground war it might not be able to win, shouldn't that high ranking officer put candor above more dead and permanently wounded American warriors?
The answer is yes. For the sake of US troops, a war-weary country, the Middle East and the world, which has no interest in another US military adventure there.
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