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Eye Opener: Pentagon changes line of succession

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Tuesday! Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has reorganized the Pentagon's line of succession, reverting back to a pre-Rumsfeld pecking order that emphasizes civilian service chiefs and adds new positions.

President Obama issued an executive order Monday that restocks the order this way in the event that Gates dies or is otherwise unable to serve:

1.) Deputy Secretary of Defense
2.) Secretary of the Army
3.) Secretary of the Navy
4.) Secretary of the Air Force
5.) Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology, and Logistics
6.) Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
7.) Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller)
8.) Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
9.) Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence
10.) Deputy Chief Management Officer

11.) Principal Deputy Undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics 12.) Principal Deputy Undersecretary for policy 13.) Defense Comptroller 14.) Principal Deputy Undersecretary for personnel and readiness 15.) Principal Deputy Undersecretary for intelligence 16.) Director of Defense Research and Engineering 17.) Defense Department General Counsel, the assistant secretaries of Defense, the assistant to the secretary for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs; director of operational test and evaluation, the director of operational energy plans and programs, and the director of cost assessment and program evaluation 18.) The Undersecretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force 19.) Assistant secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, and General Counsels of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.

Two restrictions: Nobody serving in an acting capacity and no one not appointed by Obama and confirmed by the Senate will act as secretary in the event of a catastrophe. The new order will, of course, have no real impact on daily Pentagon operations.

Gates thoroughly reviewed the list and recommended transitioning back to the historical order, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

The revised order once again puts the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force ahead of the undersecretaries for intelligence, policy and acquisitions. Donald Rumsfeld placed them higher up in 2005, consistent with his "interest in keeping his top advisers in line to run the department in the event of a catastrophe," The Post reported in Dec. 2005.

Agree or disagree with the decision?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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why is obama changing everything...
and whats this crap about somebody mot appointed by him can't lead...
what other changes has he done to the military...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 2, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

let the conspiracy theories begin.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 2, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Well,if Secy Gates and the first nine people on his list all have to take extended snow days, I'm a little worried about #10, the "Deputy Chief Management Officer," because that job has yet to be filled (even though the position was created by the FY 2008 Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress over two years ago).

Posted by: grumpy3 | March 2, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

DWIGHT - - Cheney's partner-in-crime (RUMSFELD) changed everything back when they were committing war crimes and wanted to have only fellow-conspirators in line to take over. That way the skeletons (treason, etc) stay in the closet.

Obama is putting things back the way they were before Cheney's shadow government changed the rules to protect themselves from jail or execution. (see "treason", above)

Obama needs to put things right with the Justice Dept too - - so far he has not done so. The dept is still the political arm of the executive branch that Cheney made it and must be reorged.

The Gang of Eight rule changes that were tentatively agreed on today are also an attempt to make right what Cheney and his minions did; in this case, hide their crimes from Congress.

Posted by: lquarton | March 3, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

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