by WorldTribune Staff, February 13, 2017
As Senate Democrats continue to stonewall President Donald Trump’s nominees to key Defense Department positions, analysts said the president can take heart that his No. 1 man is already in place at the Pentagon – James “Mad Dog” Mattis.
“Loyalty to the president, especially one who was as courageous as President Trump on his position against radical Islam, is important,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said, adding the Trump team was wise in giving the cold shoulder to “NeverTrump” advocates in the Republican Party.
With Mattis at the helm, Trump has also proceeded to clean house at the Pentagon.
Of former President Barack Obama’s 163 political appointees, who included Senate-confirmed service secretaries, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, only 16 remain at the Defense Department, the Pentagon said in a statement, according to a Feb. 8 report by Rowan Scarborough in The Washington Times.
“People are policy,” said Elaine Donnelly, who directs the Center for Military Readiness. “President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis will not be able to strengthen our military and improve readiness unless they replace Obama-era holdovers with people who will end political correctness in the military.”
Donnelly told The Times that Obama shifted Pentagon priorities from readiness to his social agenda and political correctness.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are resisting Trump and his agenda via the confirmation process. There is a chance that some of the Defense Department’s 53 appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation will be vacant for a long time.
“President Trump and Secretary Mattis need their team to be in place,” said Jim Dolbow, a former Republican Senate defense aide. “I would advise Democrats to be more like the late Sen. Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson, who put his country first instead of resorting to politics of personal destruction and delaying tactics.”
Donnelly added: “All of these positions should be filled by qualified people who share Secretary Mattis’ stated paramount goal: mission readiness and lethality in battle.”