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After Trump, Congress could chafe at retired officers leading the Pentagon

December 2, 2020

From the Defense News website

As President-elect Joe Biden waits to name his secretary of defense, the prospect of selecting a retired general officer is raising alarms about the civil-military balance at the top of the department – and questions about whether Congress would grant such clearance.

For months, Michèle Flournoy, the former undersecretary of defense for policy and Center for a New American Security co-founder, was expected to be nominated as the first woman to lead the Pentagon. But the delay has fueled speculation that Biden is looking elsewhere, potentially to former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson or Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat and wounded Iraq War veteran.

Last week, Axios reported that Biden’s short list includes Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general who led U.S. Central Command from 2013-2016. NBC News, meanwhile, reported that Michelle Howard, a retired four-star Navy admiral, is under consideration for secretary of the Navy.

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