- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The White House said yesterday it is considering creating a new position to oversee the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But officials also said they haven’t made any offers and they denied having trouble filling the slot.

“We’ve been consulting widely to find out what people think about the possibility of having somebody of a higher profile come in and have that position,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “We are talking to people. There have been no decisions made.”

The new “war czar” position would have authority to issue directives to the Defense and State departments, and “cut through the bureaucracy.”

“We have a significant amount of work to do at the National Security Council to make sure that the policies are being implemented across the national security agencies, of which there are many,” Mrs. Perino said. “So one consideration is to place someone of just a slightly higher profile that can help cut through bureaucracy and make sure that these policies are being implemented to their best possible ability.”

The war czar would report directly to National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and President Bush.

Mrs. Perino said no one had been offered the position, although a report in The Washington Post said three retired four-star generals already had turned down the job.

She also rejected ideas that the Bush administration was having trouble filling important posts.

” has had no trouble attracting very high-caliber talent to positions across the administration, even late in the administration,” she said.

White House discussions on the new post coincide with the recently announced resignation of Meghan O’Sullivan, who has served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Iraq for two years.

Ms. O’Sullivan is the most senior Bush administration official focused solely on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“She helped lead the reviews on the policies for Iraq and Afghanistan,” Mrs. Perino said. “And so it’s a natural time for any organization that includes the White House to think about any possible restructuring that could be effective, moving forward.”

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