Incoming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, confirmed Tuesday on a squeaker unanimous Senate vote, must have heard outgoing secretary Bob Gates advising incoming CIA director David Petraeus not to bring in outside help when he gets to Langley, lest he set up an “us vs. them” atmosphere ‘mongst the clannish spooks.
Panetta is expected to bring along just Jeremy Bash, now his chief of staff at the CIA, to fulfill that same role when Panetta floats downriver to the Pentagon on July 1. But the key team at the Pentagon — Deputy Secretary Bill Lynn, undersecretaries Ash Carter, Michele Flourney, Cliff Stanley and so on — will be staying.
Robert Rangel, now chief of staff to Gates, will be moving on. So will Gates spokesman Geoff Morrell, whose duties will be handled by current assistant secretary of defense for public affairs Doug Wilson until additional spokespeople are announced.
Marcel Lettre, former national security adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who’s been in the Pentagon legislative shop and has been handling transition matters for Panetta, is expected to remain in the front office in a prominent role. Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly, who had been picked by Gates to be senior military assistant, is expected to play the same role for Panetta.