The Washington Post

Senate move clears way for new Missile Defense Agency chief

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Senate on Friday voted to boost Jim Syring’s military rank, a pre-requisite for him taking the position of director of the Missile Defense Agency, the job President Obama selected him for last month. And we assumed the Senate still hadn’t confirmed him for the job, since the Congressional Record notice about the vote included nary a mention of the missile agency or the title Syring is to hold there. The Loop reported that he’d gotten “half a loaf” by getting the necessary boost in rank but not the job itself.

Alas, we underestimated the import of the phrase that followed the announcement of his promotion: “while assigned to a position of importance and responsibility.” Turns out, those innocuous little words mean big things for Syring — namely, that the promotion to vice admiral means that he’s now eligible for the military to hand him over the keys to the MDA — just as the president directed — with no further approval from the Senate needed.

Couldn’t have been any clearer, right?

Still questions, remain. Like when will Syring actually take over as head of MDA?

Still no word. That’s as clear as...federal code.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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