In Transition| Secretary of Defense

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jack Reed

CURRENT JOB: Senator from Rhode Island

CREDENTIALS: Reed is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of the subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, as well as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Cranston, R.I., native served in the Army and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point before retiring as a captain in 1979. He obtained a law degree at Harvard and two years after graduation was elected a state senator. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

WHAT HE OFFERS: Reed has been an influential voice on the Armed Services Committee, his expertise informed by a 12-year Army stint that included leading an 82nd Airborne Division infantry platoon and company. Reed voted against the use of force in Iraq. He has monitored the conduct of the war, traveling to Iraq more than a dozen times since 2003 -- most recently in July with Sen. Barack Obama.

VETTING: Reed opposed President Bush's buildup of nearly 30,000 troops into Iraq but acknowledged early on the trend of declining violence there. Reed has said he wishes to remain in the Senate.

QUOTE: "Senator Obama has demonstrated the insight he has on strategy by saying, let's focus on the real enemies, the ones that are attacking us and plan to attack us here in the United States," he said July 26 on ABC's "This Week." "They're not in Iraq. They're probably more likely in Pakistan."

Richard J. Danzig

CURRENT JOB: Obama senior national security adviser

CREDENTIALS: Danzig was secretary of the Navy from 1998 to 2001 and undersecretary from 1993 to 1997. He also served at the Pentagon under President Jimmy Carter as deputy assistant secretary for manpower, reserve affairs and logistics. More recently, he was a senior fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis, a Virginia defense consultant. The Yale-educated lawyer and Rhodes scholar graduated from Reed College.

WHAT HE OFFERS: Danzig is considered a front-runner to replace Robert M. Gates. He has an understanding of Pentagon operations and has stayed in the loop. He would have a sophisticated grasp of Obama's priorities for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

VETTING: Danzig would face pressure to rein in a ballooning defense budget. But the pace of military operations will offer little short-term relief from the strain on ground troops, and the price tag for refurbishing the force will grow.

QUOTE: "The Hindu religion has a goddess, Kali, who is the goddess of destruction, and we need a Kali: We need some creative destruction. We need the ability to recognize that some programs shouldn't be pursued and some pressing expenses need to be cut back," he said in July.

Chuck Hagel

CURRENT JOB: Nebraska's senior senator

CREDENTIALS: Hagel, a former business executive with broad experience in investment banking, is serving his second term in the Senate, where he is a member of the foreign relations, intelligence, rules, and banking, housing and urban affairs committees. In 1981, he was nominated and confirmed as deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration. Hagel served as an infantry squad leader in Vietnam in 1968 and was awarded two Purple Hearts, among other decorations.

WHAT HE OFFERS: Hagel combines an opposition to the Iraq war with Republican credentials.

VETTING: Although the Obama team has floated Hagel's name, observers say that whether the Republican will be seriously considered will depend on the political balance of other Cabinet assignments.

QUOTE: "Much of the world has lost its trust and confidence in America's purpose and questions our intentions. The next president will have to reintroduce America to the world in order to regain its trust in our purpose as well as our power," he said in June.

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