Seeking continuity and experience while the nation is involved in two wars, President-elect Barack Obama has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain head of the Pentagon — if only temporarily — and has chosen retired Marine general James Jones to be White House national security adviser.
Both Bob Gates and retired General James Jones will bring decades of experience to an administration that has to bring two wars to an end, has potential conflicts in Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea, and has potentially dangerous situations in Africa and Asia.
Personally I like the idea of keeping Gates for one year, which will allow for a smoother transition. I have heard some rightly argue that it is bad precedent for a Democratic administration to concede the Defense Secretary position to the Republicans, as if Democrats are not strong enough o defense issues, but in this case I think stability in this position is better for the country and our troops.
That said I do hope in one year's time we see a new nominee for Defense Secretary who is a Democrat.
Here is how this story was covered by Keith Olbermann tonight:
Should we be worried that as a candidate Barack Obama ran on change, but he is putting a lot of old Washington hands in office? I don't believe so. I think that to get things done in Washington are very hard, so having people who knows how to work the system is very important. As long as the person setting the agenda and steering the ship does not forget his promise of change, I think we will get the change that this nation voted for.
Nothing I have seen has led me to worry. I think Barack Obama is at his core a realist, who will bring real change to this country.