As Gates steps down, Panetta to head Pentagon, Petraeus CIA


President Barack Obama will nominate CIA director Leon Panetta as defense secretary, resetting his national security team ahead of the 2012 presidential campaign and a battle over the Pentagon budget.

Obama will also nominate Army General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to replace Panetta as CIA director, and veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

The long-anticipated changes, which must be confirmed by the Senate, would place a long-standing Democratic Party figure at the helm of the Pentagon as Obama presses forward with politically delicate policies in Afghanistan and Libya.

The administration and Congress also face mounting calls for defense spending cuts as Washington looks for ways to narrow the yawning U.S. budget deficit, which stands at $1.4 trillion this year.

The current defense chief, Robert Gates, was appointed by former President George W. Bush, a Republican, and has proved to be an outspoken maverick on key issues under both administrations. Gates, himself a former CIA director, had made it clear that he would step down as defense chief this year.

Panetta, who turns 73 in June, is a former U.S. representative from California who served as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He was former President Bill Clinton’s budget director, then chief of staff.

via Panetta to head Pentagon, Petraeus CIA | Reuters.

About Albert N. Milliron 6991 Articles
Albert Milliron is the founder of Politisite. Milliron has been credentialed by most major news networks for Presidential debates and major Political Parties for political event coverage. Albert maintains relationships with the White House and State Department to provide direct reporting from the Administration’s Press team. Albert is the former Public Relations Chairman of the Columbia County Republican Party in Georgia. He is a former Delegate. Milliron is a veteran of the US Army Medical Department and worked for Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Psychiatry.

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