A national-security personnel shakeup is coming, according to various media reports, as the Obama administration looks to fill the opening that will be left when Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates departs later this year.
According to the AP, which first broke the story, CIA Director Leon Panetta will take the Pentagon’s top spot sometime this summer. Replacing him at the CIA will be Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff in the mid-‘90s and a “bookish Northern California liberal known for crunching budget numbers,” per The Washington Times, Panetta’s appointment to the CIA was a surprise pick. However, in his two years as the nation’s spy chief, Panetta has received high marks for boosting morale at the agency.
Political calculus also played a hand in the Panetta appointment to Defense. “In naming Mr. Panetta to the Pentagon, Mr. Obama is selecting an already-confirmed cabinet official with strong ties to both the White House and Capitol Hill,” according to The New York Times’ analysis.
Petraeus, on the other hand, is said to have a more distant relationship with the president, but observers have also noted his extensive experience in intelligence-gathering operations on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.