Senate may confirm new missile defense chief


Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, Missile Defense Agency director (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The move would bring to a close the somewhat stormy, four-year tenure of Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, who was sharply criticized by the Pentagon inspector general in a May report that faulted him for an abusive management style.

That’s likely why the MDA ranked 223rd out of 224 smaller federal government operations in a “Best Places to Work” survey a couple years ago by the Partnership for Public Service.

The possibility of a Senate confirmation this week seems a bit swift given the Senate’s somewhat leisurely pace of late on confirming administration nominees. But we were assured that the Senate is treating this as a routine nomination, just moving it along before adjournment.

One factor in favor of that scenario is that Syring is hardly an unknown commodity. He’s said to be well-respected in defense circles and is the Navy’s program executive officer for integrated warfare systems. If confirmed, Syring, now a one-star, would get two more stars as a vice admiral.

A factor working against that timetable is that, with the Senate these days, you just never know.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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