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Topic - Michele Flournoy
The former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan and a former top Pentagon official are floating an idea to keep a "bridging force" of U.S. troops, as well as a planned "enduring force," after the December 2014 deadline for most international combat troops to withdraw from the country.
Military officers assigned to the Pentagon do not vote on who becomes secretary of defense, but if they did, former Sen. Chuck Hagel might finish in second place.
Tuesday's re-election of President Obama triggered immediate speculation about the future of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who will turn 75 in June. Mr. Panetta, defense secretary since June 2011, has had a long career in government and is said by associates to be ready to return to private life in Northern California, where he frequently visits and owns land.
A former top Pentagon official urged Congress Tuesday to find a way to avoid $600 billion in "draconian" defense cuts that would begin next year if Congress fails to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget.
The Obama administration is preparing to begin talks with Iraq on defining a long-term defense relationship that may include expanded U.S. training help, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's chief policy aide.
At the recent U.S.-Chinese defense talks in Beijing, the subject of the Pentagon's new Air Sea Battle Concept, a program to counter China's growing anti-access and area denial weapons, was not discussed.
The United States has no "definitive evidence" that Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden had been living in the compound where Navy SEALs killed him, but the Pakistanis must now show convincingly their commitment to defeating the al Qaeda terrorist network, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday.
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan told Congress Tuesday that his forces had made enough progress to justify starting a three-year withdrawal in July. But testimony from other officials made it clear that, even after 2014, U.S. troops will be in the country on an "enduring" basis.
A U.S. commitment to provide India with top-of-the-line technology as India modernizes its armed forces and builds its own defense industry is likely to cause unease in Pakistan, which also wants U.S. equipment to prosecute its war against terrorists.
"It will be the start of a new chapter in our relationship - one where I hope we can get beyond focusing so much on one personality and the challenging aspects of that personality to a relationship that really is based on a number of profoundly shared strategic interests," said Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy between 2009 and 2012.
"[For] two to three years after 2014, the United States may need an additional force package of several thousand personnel to help the Afghans finish building their air force, their special operations forces and certain other enablers in medical realms, in counter-IED capability and in intelligence collection," said Michele Flournoy, former defense undersecretary for policy, and retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen in a Center for a New American Security report.