Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 1, 2008

Obama to Name National Security Team

Filed under: General Homeland Security,International HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on December 1, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to name five members of his senior national security team today, representing a centrist set of leading experts. They are former SACEUR Jim Jones as national security adviser, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano for Secretary of Homeland Security, Sen. Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, and Susan Rice as UN Ambassador. The President-elect also is expected to retain Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. See this post for more on Governor Napolitano as the likely DHS Secretary.

Of the nominees, I’ve only met General Jones, the former Marine four-star. When he was SACEUR and head of EUCOM, I was at NATO in 2006 as part of work for the Center for the Study of the Presidency. I was leading the staff work for a study that began in 2004. That project identified options for the U.S. to bolster its homeland security initiatives through engaging multilateral institutions like NATO. Dave Abshire, president of CSP, led our team, which included Max Angerholzer of the Lounsbery Foundation, Ambassador Gary Matthews of USIP, and former CSP Executive VP Jay Parker. General Jones talked with us for two hours.

While I expected only a cursory review of priority issues at NATO and a perfunctory acknowledgment of homeland security issues as being relevant to alliance workings, General Jones engaged us in a sweeping dialogue and provided a comprehensive explanation of trends and tensions across the Alliance that reached far beyond NATO’s immediate geography. He described the importance of reconciling EU-NATO interests and authorities, options for engaging Middle East nations and Mediterranean states, as well as the political forces behind several setbacks in pursuit of better global consensus post-9/11. This was clearly more than a unified combatant commander. He was already a national security advisor, just an under-employed one.

Apparently, both McCain and Obama sought Jones’ advice during the campaign. Jones hasn’t always agreed with candidate Obama. He chaired the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq in 2007 and said a deadline for troop withdrawal would be “against our national interest.” Of course, a lot has changed since then. Jones also served as president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, which is part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Additional notes:
Gates will be able to get to work immediately as the first defense secretary held over by a new president since he will not have to undergo Senate confirmation.

Susan Rice, a specialist on Africa, advised Obama during the campaign and is a protégé of Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s secretary of state.

Napolitano has won an early endorsement from…Senator McCain. Considered a moderate Democrat, McCain said last month about Napolitano “I hope she is quickly confirmed.”

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Comment by William R. Cumming

December 1, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

Never forget that NATO has always had a interest in Civil Security issues and the NATO seat once assigned to FEMA although have no idea now. SEE E.O. 12656 as amended. By the way, in case it has been overlooked the merger of NSC and HSC is almost a given now and can be done by Executive Order. However, the STATE and LOCALS have finally awaked to the fact that their may be implications for federalism and federal support to them in such a major. Proof! Today’s WAPO VA edition has excellent article on the staffing of dedicated units to NORTHCOM. Inferentially documents that DOD never really supported civil support operations, including WMD response even though mandated to do so back in the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996, TITLE XIV of DOD authorization act of that year. It also demonstrates again that DOD actually ad hocs domestic response as much or more than the civil agencies, usually not following its own plans and processes but playing catch as catch can and usually only at least partially successful because of NG personnel who happen to be on active duty. I have often refrained from naming names on my blog comments but feel compelled to do so here. After James Lee Witt declined to fill his assigned written mandate in PD-39 (the stated reason was lack of funding and staff), NSC staff including Richard Clarke were faced with a key interface for the first time with STATE and LOCAL government roles and responsibilities. While Clarke was never able to come up to speed on these issues, Ms. Lisa Gordon-Haggerty became the IAG working STATE and LOCAL issues and probably should be called upon to help with any transition in the forthcoming merger. I also think the NSC and Domestic Council interface will be crucial for domestic crisis response after the merger. She also could help there also. She is a national asset in a complete sense. First saw her operate in a classified exercise in the Tank at DOD representing the Energy Department. The transition staff at NSC and HSC and Domestic Policy Council should be hearing what she says about past efforts to harness and leverage STATE and Local resources and handle specific federalism problems in WMD and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Just for the record she has no clue who I am.

Pingback by HSC-NSC Merger More Likely | Homeland Security Watch

February 9, 2009 @ 7:08 am

[…] noted at the time that it was possibly indicative of an NSC-HSC merger that when Jones was named, no corresponding […]

Comment by Patriots Jersey

August 15, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

Napolitano has won an early endorsement from…Senator McCain. Considered a moderate Democrat, McCain said last month about Napolitano “I hope she is quickly confirmed.”

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