De­fense vs. State

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

De­fense of­fi­cials say the State De­part­ment is qui­etly try­ing to take back new Pen­tagon au­thori- ties that were ex­panded un­der De­fense Sec­re­tary Don­ald H. Rums­feld in­volv­ing sup­port for for­eign mil­i­taries, some­thing De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Deputy Sec­re­tary of De­fense Gor­don Eng­land are not op­pos­ing.

In par­tic­u­lar, State’s bureau of po­lit­i­cal mil­i­tary af­fairs wants to re­store its past level of con­trol over the For­eign Mil­i­tary Fi­nanc­ing (FMF) pro­gram, a key strate­gic tool for sup­port­ing al­lies.

“State wants to go back to the good old days of them run­ning ev­ery­thing with FMF and end­ing Rums­feld in­no­va­tions, in­clud­ing the ‘train and equip’ pro­gram for al­lies,” one of­fi­cial said.

The power strug­gle is trig­ger­ing a ma­jor fight on Capi­tol Hill led by pro-State De­part­ment staff mem­bers who are work­ing to “turn the clock” back and give the State De­part­ment the lead author­ity in iden­ti­fy­ing which for­eign al­lies to help and how much.

Fur­ther con­cerns among con­ser­va­tives about the lib­eral Demo­cratic bent of the Pen­tagon were high­lighted by the new chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s first pub­lic speech to the Demo­crat-dom­i­nated Cen­ter for New Amer­i­can Se­cu­rity, founded by Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion de­fense of­fi­cials Kurt Camp­bell and Michele Flournoy.

The Oct. 25 speech by Adm. Michael Mullen fol­lowed Mr. Gates’ ap­point­ment of Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion Deputy De­fense Sec­re­tary John Hamre as chair­man of the De­fense Pol­icy Board, prompt­ing in­sid­ers to spec­u­late that Mr. Gates is fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple of for­mer CIA Di­rec­tor Ge­orge J. Tenet in seek­ing to be­come a “holdover” in an an­tic­i­pated Demo­cratic ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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