- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pentagon reclama-mode

Defense and military officials are working quietly on plans they hope will reverse some of the weapons cuts and defense policy changes made by outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said in a recent speech that he had canceled 30 arms programs during 4 1/2 years on the job.

Study groups within the military services, the Joint Staff and the office of the secretary of defense are already working on a series of appeals that bureaucrats call “reclamas” for the next defense secretary, expected to be current CIA DirectorLeon Panetta.

A reclama is defined by the Pentagon as “a request to duly constituted authority to reconsider its decision or its proposed action.” According to defense officials, the appeals will include calls for reviving some of the canceled Army, Navy and Air Force weapons programs killed by Mr. Gates as well as reversing decisions on defense policies ranging from China to Russia.

Air-power advocates are hoping the next defense secretary will revive the F-22 jet program that was ended by Mr. Gates after 187 aircraft. The jet is considered the most advanced in the world and has not had the problems faced by the overbudget F-35.

Mr. Panetta is expected to continue the defense cuts launched by Mr. Gates after President Obama said in April he wants to cut $400 billion from the Pentagon.

Weapons officials in the services also are studying Mr. Panetta’s record as a member of Congress from 1977 to 1993 for clues to his defense biases. What they found, not surprisingly, is that he supported programs that benefited his native California, such as keeping open the Naval Post-Graduate School at Monterey during one of the past rounds of military-base closures.

The overall picture that emerged from preliminary research on the incoming defense secretary is that he is “not a squishy liberal,” said one official familiar with the effort.

On China, one of the current areas of debate within the defense and intelligence communities, initial assessments are that the CIA director is expected to be tougher than Mr. Gates on the issue. At the CIA, Mr. Panetta pushed the spies to step up intelligence collection against China, which some agency bureaucrats opposed, favoring a more cautious spying approach that would avoid upsetting Beijing.

Another big question being asked in the Pentagon is whom Mr. Panetta will bring with him as close advisers if he is confirmed by the Senate and whether they will be career CIA officials or past advisers.

Mr. Panetta, as a former congressman, is also expected to be more attuned to Congress than Mr. Gates, who often regarded the legislative branch of government and its numerous reporting requirements as a nuisance.

DOD counterspying

The Pentagon two weeks ago issued a new counterintelligence directive following one of its worst information-security failures in history: the leaking of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.

The May 17 directive outlines new requirements for all military and civilian defense officials to report “contacts, activities, indicators and behaviors associated with foreign intelligence entities (FIEs),” a term that includes international terrorists. The directive also says military personnel are now subject to prosecution under military law for violating the reporting requirements, while civilians face disciplinary action.

The directive also updates official reporting on foreign intelligence “cyberspace contacts, activities, indicators, and behaviors.” The directive is titled “Counterintellignece Awareness and Reporting” and says all personnel must be trained on threats from foreign spies and terrorists, their methods, including the use of the Internet and other communication such as social networking sites.

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