May 15, 2007

A Strange Org Chart At The DoD

President Bush finally got someone to accept a nomination to the new post of "war czar" to oversee the conduct of the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute will move from his current position as the Pentagon's director of operations as soon as he can be confirmed:

In the newly created position of assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan policy and implementation, Lute would have the power to direct the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies involved in the two conflicts.

Lute would report directly to the president and to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Filling the position had become a priority for the White House, after a handful of retired generals told the White House they did not want the job. Among them, retired Marine Corps four-star Gen. Jack Sheehan, who proved an embarrassment to the White House after he wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post saying there were "huge shortcomings" in the White House view of the strategy in Iraq.

Confirmation won't be easy, and the first challenge will be explaining the necessity of the role. The President is Commander-in-Chief, but he can delegate those responsibilities and authorities as he sees fit. Under normal circumstances, though, this position would be superfluous. The Secretary of Defense runs the military, and the Joint Chiefs command operations. Normally, the conduct of multiple theaters of war would happen at the Joint Chiefs under the direction of the Secretary, with the ultimate authority residing in the White House. That was the model used in WWII, of course; General Eisenhower reported to General Marshall, who ran the war for FDR and his Secretary of War, Henry Stimson.

So why the extra level now? It comes from the wide-ranging approach to the war on terror taken by the Bush administration. Bush wants one person directing traffic not just for the Department of Defense, but also for the State Department and the CIA as well. That falls outside of the Joint Chiefs' purview, and apparently the result is discoordination between agencies. The White House sees value in having one man take command of the overall prosecution of the war in all of its manifestations.

Of course, Bush could do that himself, as CinC, and up to now has been expected to do so. Perhaps the level of complication and detail requires another hand on the yoke, one dedicated to nothing else but the war, and that's plausible given the nature of the conflict. However, for an administration that supposedly wants to avoid bruising confirmation fights, the White House seems rather eager to open up a can of worms by creating a new confirmable position where it has not existed prior to now.


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Comments (17)

Posted by Carol Herman | May 15, 2007 5:25 PM

A good move!

Politics is all about such fights!

You can be in the ring and weave and duck all you like, but the audience grows restive.

Here? It's not a stupid debate about Justice, poorly run,and hard to fix. It's a new thing, with a spotlight. Designed to put a military man out there.

If he's been in the Pentagon, and can't talk, then there could be problems. But Lute is an ambitious man.

Today, much to my own delight. I followed a link from InstaPundit to FRED THOMPSON'S RESPONSE TO MICHAEL MOORE!

That's how it's done!

And, in the comments on how well Fred Thompson took Michael Moore "down a notch," there's a whole discussion on the OODA LOOPS.

I think it stands for: Observe. Orient. Destroy. Action. Something like that. Something that makes Americans pilots better at "cat fights" or "dog fights" than any other pilot, around.

It's all in the training.

Bush figured out he needed to throw a solid punch. And, this is it.

The donks can't afford to go "squishy" on the subject of Iraq. Why? They want the blame for failure to fall on Bush. Not the troops.

Bush just handed them the rock. And, the hard place. Plenty of arrows and instructions on where they can stuff it.

If you haven't seen the InstaPundit link to Fred Thompson, go look!

Posted by Lightwave | May 15, 2007 6:34 PM

It's simple, Ed. Two observations:

1) General Lute reports to NSA Stephen Hadley. This means the White House is serious about the War in Iraq being what it truly is: a vital national security interest that we MUST win.

2) The Dems cannot win on a confirmation hearing in any way. If they oppose Lute, it is a tacit admission that the current RoE and battle plan and command structure is perfectly acceptable and that Gen. Petreus and his staff are doing the right thing. They accept the status quo, there's no need for change in Iraq, and all their arguments on us pulling out of Iraq become null and void. The moonbat base will murder them and the rest of the voters will just shake their heads and turn to the GOP for actual leadership.

Likewise if they confirm him, it is a tacit admission that the war can still be won, that they are now committed to a victory plan and that the goal must be to win in Iraq. The moonbat base will murder them and the rest of the voters will just shake their heads and turn to the GOP for actual leadership.

If they oppose Lute, they agree with Bush's current position that we're winning and will continue to win if we follow the Petreaus plan. If they confirm, they agree with Bush's current position that the war is winnable and that we need to do everything we can to achieve victory with the Lute plan.

Any way you slice it, the Dems have to agree with the President on the war: either we're winning and we don't need a change, or we need to change to continue winning.

And they lose. Luckily, this also means America wins.

Posted by Tom_Holsinger | May 15, 2007 6:45 PM

I don't understand it either. We have CentCom as the theater command (now headed by an admiral), and its operational subcommands are Iraq (which is commanded by General Petraeus) and Afghanistan, plus different, non-operational, commands for other places such as Saudi Arabia, the naval command (5th Fleet?), etc.

The only thing I can think of which makes sense is if this new position is really a secret new HQ for an Iranian operation about to commence.

Posted by betsybounds | May 15, 2007 7:52 PM

I don't understand this "czar" thing at all. I guess it started with the drug "czar," and it hasn't gotten any better. The confirmation battle will be ugly, with the Dems determined to block Bush at every turn, and there's no chance he will win this one. I think he's had his last confirmation victory. Haven't any of these guys (our recent presidents) heard of a "kitchen cabinet?"

Posted by grognard [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 15, 2007 8:22 PM

Drug Czar, Energy Czar, yeah this will work.

Posted by smagar | May 15, 2007 8:40 PM

Under the Goldwater Nichols act, the Joint Chiefs of Staff command nothing. They advise the President and Congress, and run the Joint Staff.

The command chain goes from the President, to the SECDEF, to the theater combatant commanders--in this case, the USN admiral commanding CENTCOM, ADM Fallon

Posted by Bill Faith | May 15, 2007 9:46 PM

"War czar" is a term the ever-helpful MSM came up with, not a White House term (ref). Ed, I'm glad I'm not the only one having trouble figuring out what this new guy's job is supposed to be.

I added a link to my 2007.05.15 Dem Perfidy // Islamism Delenda Est Roundup

Posted by Carol Herman | May 15, 2007 10:58 PM

This is a political fight.

Bush is facing problems getting people confirmed. And, he found a way to use this issue, in an attempt to bypass the log jams, elsewhere.

Again, Congress is divided. The donks sit on the thinnest of margins. TWO PERCENT. And, still? Bush is on the ropes.

The probability is that nothing changes. We're not really at war in Iraq. We stopped our "war" after Tommy Franks went home. We're just sitting there, now; trying to boost the Sunni interests. And, CAN'T!

You could say the House of Saud bet wrong.

The other thing going on? The House of Saud is stirring the pot, using the palestinians as fodder; trying to start a war where Israel gets provoked into a "loud" response.

Bush is damaged goods.

He did this to himself.

In WW2, when Marshall was in charge, it started where his competition (Christmas Time 1941), came from Winston Churchill. Who wanted an "Anglo-Saxon" ... NOT a Chiefs of Staff ... final decision arbiter. And, Marshall told FDR he'd quit, if London was empowered like that!

And, we had how many troops involved in our WW2 war efforts? YOU DO NOT SEE THAT HERE!

That's why it is all political.

But at least for Bush, it's a sign that there are people on his staff still thinking that Congress is not supreme. And, a good (rather than a bad), Congressional Hearing FIGHT, could give the White House a win.

Alberto Gonzales did not.

And, if you look at what can happen, ahead, you'll see that THIS is the one area where the donks can lose their advantage.

What's that? TWO PERCENT.

Will it make a difference in Iraq and Afghanistan? Huh? You think the heroin trade is now in jeopardy?

From HOUSE OF BUSH / HOUSE OF SAUD, there's a reminder that in 2001, when Bush was handing out money for those who were "halping" our war on drugs, the Taliban was given $43-million-dollars. Because they were actually stopping the farmers in Afghanistan from moving what they grew, around. They were interfering with the heroin market.

Which explains why our efforts in Afghanistan, where the drug trade travels easily, to be something where those folks are willing to support us. Against the crazies that were impeding their export business.

Ya can learn something new every day.

With 616 days left till Bush leaves office.

Posted by Mike | May 15, 2007 11:07 PM


We do need someone who will coordinate the entire American effort.

Right now, in my humble opinion, the CIA, Army and Marines are at war. The State Dept and the remainder of the US Governmental structure are not.

IF he is empowered to control every effort in the theater, this is a good idea. Instead of political, empire building infighting, we can start to manipulate the environment in Iraq and bring this 'problem' to a successful and acceptable conclusion, this could be good.


Posted by Mike | May 15, 2007 11:09 PM


We do need someone who will coordinate the entire American effort.

Right now, in my humble opinion, the CIA, Army and Marines are at war. The State Dept and the remainder of the US Governmental structure are not.

IF he is empowered to control every effort in the theater, this is a good idea. Instead of political, empire building infighting, we can start to manipulate the environment in Iraq and bring this 'problem' to a successful and acceptable conclusion, this could be good.


Posted by stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 15, 2007 11:15 PM

Meanwhile in the Pacific. There was Nimitz and MacArthur. Marshall had to fight the Germans also the Japanese and the Navy.

Posted by Carol Herman | May 16, 2007 1:25 AM

WW2 had great generals. You don't want to "stop" the fighting between strong men.

And, that's not what you have here, either. The CIA, mismanaged, and ill run, was not in a position to help even understand the terrain in Iraq. Well? Do you think it was a wide open society under Saddam?

Assumptions were made. Those assumptions were wrong. And, other assumptions were just plain silly.

Iraq was supposed to be WHAT?

And, after you saw the votes going to the constitution that would define Iraq as a muslem state, you didn't expect intercine warfare to break out?

Sistani is still in control. And, according to IRAQ THE MODEL, he is not anxious for any "quick" legislation, now. There's not enough trust. Why? Because the Sunnis, (who are Wahabbists), took money from the Saud's, to scare the daylights out of the Shi'a. Every explosion is $100,000 a pop.

We sent in people who don't even speak arabic!

Yes, folks. We blew it. Unlike Afgahnistan, where the poppy sales thrive; and the American built road made traffic between the mountain-tops and their foreign customers even better than before; we are not in trouble.

But the "stinky-stans" were always supposed to be backwaters that worked as a "necklace around the bear."

What you say, Mike, is very plausible. But for it to be so out of hand, you'd have to blame Bush! Ultimately, when the "generals fight" the president comes along, and puts his own opinion in. And, the fighting stops. Or someone's ass is kicked out the door.

This has not happened here.

And, one of the things the "czar" label does, is shows ya that the Congress-critters, when they look this man up and down during the Hearings, are gonna wanna know what they have to do for their friends in all the agencies this guy would get to "bring together." Because? Unltimately, DC is an insider's game. Where the way to succeed is to know your congress-critters are rooting for you when they're doing their budgetary allocations. You can't get around that.

As a matter of fact, Bush might as well have made Murtha the "czar." Because, believe it or not, that's where the power resides. You're agency is nothing without funds.

And, the Saud's aren't paying for anything, where they're making us pay through the teeth.

Posted by Keemo | May 16, 2007 6:37 AM

This is a strange move by Bush. I can't remember anything like this ever taking place in past war times. I have a strange feeling about this move; could this guy be the "fall guy".....

Of coarse, I can't remember a political party ever acting like this in past war times either. Maybe this new position is necessary due to the Democrats position of "defeat at any cost".....

Posted by ajacksonian | May 16, 2007 7:01 AM

If someone is needed to 'coordinate' between the INTEL Community and DoD, then why, exactly do we have a Director of National Intelligence? Really, part of that was to actually get better coordination between the INTs, both Civilian and Military, to meet the needs of the Nation and the warfighter. So why, exactly, hasn't that happened and a new position is needed to address that?

There has been some discussion at various sites to address exactly *what* the problems with the IC *are* and I took my stab at that a couple of times. What we have is not an INTEL Community but a series of feifdoms and kingdoms that are bureaucratically enshrined and highly protective of their resources and work products. The IC does not *act* like a Community in support of National goals nor the needs of the Executive Branch, and that, at basis, needs to be reformed. Even further, I look at the problem of these turf wars in which additional layers get added into the bureaucracy, but that does nothing to increase coordination or accountability. As each new office gets stood up, it has its own funding, personnel, and outlook which immediately impinges upon the rest of the IC to be even more hedged in its outlooks, offer less broad views of the world and tell of the innate problems of actually getting and generating reliable INTEL.

Beyond that, the idea that all of the Federal agencies can actually *track* terrorism is one that has been demonstrated to not only be not true, but that they have not been serious in actually using what abilities they have to do so. Those who like the old paradigm of "follow the money" runs straight into the problem that much of terrorist funding uses unaccountable person-to-person funds and goods networks for much of daily operations. Even when money has been filtrated *into* the legitimate banking system via money laundering, tracking and tracing such often leads to a plethora of overseas companies which may or may not have any existence in the real world. That melding of international organized crime operations and *their* money and goods systems with that of the traditional person-to-person systems like the Middle Eastern hawala system of the peso exchange system between the US and Latin America, places hard and fast accountability obstacles on actually 'following the money'. Treasury, Justice, State, Federal Reserve, Homeland Security, and many other government organs have been unable to deal with post-9/11 and the pre-9/11 efforts to stop organized crime point up to the deficiencies of Federal Government to effectively 'follow the money' for *that*.

Consider the case of US car theft rings, just on the physical tracking side. Cars that are stolen in the US have been found in Iraq as part of VBIEDs. We know this from engine block and other VIN identifiers and the fact that vehicles have multiple duplicates allows the investigators to ID that *entire cars* are shipped over to Iraq *whole* and then find their way to al Qaeda bomb shops. Cars stolen in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and other places have turned up in the VBIED remains and often captured *whole* when bomb making shops are found and raided. This is done so that late model US cars can 'blend in' with traffic and convoys. So, if the lovely INTEL and law enforcement organs of government cannot actually find and stop cars being stolen from US streets that wind up as bombs in Iraq, what sort of confidence can be placed in the much more fungible world of funds transfers between legitimate and illegitimate institutions and often wholly in illegitimate channels?

And yet that is the very sort of thing the DNI was to *address*: getting the other forms of INT to work with more traditional forms and make the entire thing more responsive.

To me this is not a question of politics, but simple *competence* in doing those things necessary to address transnational terrorism. The overhead placed on the IC has made it *less* responsive or integrated and increased the vehemence of the turf wars and insularity of the organizations involved. If the IC had reformed and actually *served* the interests of the Nation and *not* their own organization's interests, we would not need a 'war czar' or individual to coordinate between the IC and DoD as it would already be happening.

These are serious issues as they cross all politics and point to the common defense of the People and the Nation. Scoring political *points* puts the Nation further at risk. And the need to add more high level offices points out to there being less and less accountability within the system to get work done. And in this as the entire Senior Executive Service serves on annual, renewable contracts and not as part of the Civil Service, the Executive has total authority and capability to do something about it and remove these entrenched insights: fire until competence is found and hold the Civil Service's feet to the fires to actually work properly until such competence is found.

Posted by Michael Yarborough | May 16, 2007 3:40 PM

Just a technical point. In paragraph 2 you compared the modern secretary of defense to the secretary of war during WWII. This is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, because the secretary of defense oversees the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine departments. The secretary of war only dealt with the Army. The Navy had its own department (the department of the navy).

For the European theater (which was mostly a land conflict) this meant the Army had supreme authority and could set policy. Today in Iraq and Afghanistan there is no single branch of the military in charge of operations near as I can tell. Since most operations in both theaters are ground operations, the Army should logically have supreme command. However, for a variety of reasons (money being a large one) this is not the case.

Just some thoughts...

Posted by Spec Bowers | May 16, 2007 5:36 PM

Why does this position need confirmation? Was it created by legislation? Cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking department officials need confirmation, but there are many positions that the President fills without confirmation. E.g. Karl Rove is an assistant to the President, who was never confirmed. This new assistant to the President for managing the Iraq war should be completely the President's choice, without any confirmation.

Posted by Max Yazgur | May 16, 2007 6:00 PM

Frankly, if it's just coordination and maybe advisory, I wish Bush had a succession of about-to-retire E-9s come through on a revolving-door basis to take turns telling him, "Sir, with all due respect, you're full of crap clear up to the hairline."