I asked a particularly wise Pentagon official what he made of the prospective new deputy assistant secretaries of defense for detainee policy and South Asia, former Army captains Phil Carter and Craig Mullaney. The answer? Pretty rapturous.
It’s a sign that the administration is getting moving making its mark on the Pentagon bureaucracy, which until this week has been largely run by Bush holdovers.
It’s significant that in two areas — detainees and Afghanistan — where Obama has promised a clean break from the past, we’re seeing some fresh perspectives provided by younger veterans of the current wars — as opposed to another Clinton retread.
Speaking of clean breaks from the past, one challenge for Carter is going to be dealing with his new subordinates. As the AP’s Lara Jakes reported, some Rumsfeld-era political appointees have managed to get themselves declared civil servants in order to stay on and, presumably, gum up the Obama/Gates agenda from the inside. One of them who’ll work with Carter, apparently, is Tara Jones, whom a defense insider described to me as a "very partisan, pro-Gitmo Bush political appointee — think the Monica Goodling of detainees." Ouch. Good luck with that one.
Crossposted to The Streak.