Last week the Politico published results of their study on President Barack Obama’s public speeches since taking office, concluding that Obama’s rhetoric had “downplayed” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to DefenseNews, President Obama’s lack of attention to our national security is not confined to rhetoric. DefenseNews reports:
Seven months into the Obama administration, key senior U.S. Defense Department jobs remain vacant even as the Pentagon reshapes its strategic focus and molds the 2011 spending plan.
Of 47 Pentagon posts that require Senate confirmation, eight are filled by holdovers appointed by former President George W. Bush. The Obama administration has filled an additional 20. That leaves 19 vacant positions scattered across the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the three
“This is very worrisome,” said Zakheim, also a Defense Business Board member. “The secretary [Robert Gates] has a problem.”
Defense experts said the most eyebrow-raising openings were the lack of service acquisition chiefs and comptrollers and various slots in the OSD personnel and readiness shop.
They include the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the principal deputy in that office, and the assistant secretary for health affairs. Several former defense officials who worked under Republican and Democratic administrations said those posts should have been filled months ago. Military health care costs are growing, they said, and the Pentagon is beginning to address the costs of adding nearly 115,000 troops since 2007.
Meanwhile, the Air Force is without a confirmed undersecretary or an acquisition executive. But the air service is still better off than the Army and Navy, which also lack a Senate-approved comptroller.
The Army’s upper echelon is particularly empty, with no undersecretary or acquisition executive or assistant secretaries for civil works, installations and environment. The Navy lacks a comptroller and an assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.