WASHINGTON: While reports that he may have violated the law swirl around disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn today, the White House moved to fill a few more of the very large number of empty offices of senior Pentagon officials.
For our readers, the key appointment is of Kari Bingen, who apparently was nominated to be principal undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, the second-highest ranking intelligence job in the Pentagon.
Bingen is a hugely capable former House Armed Services Committee aide who was the top staffer of the HASC strategic forces subcommittee and served as the HASC’s policy director. Her knowledge of the National Reconnaissance Office, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and NSA will serve her well if she’s confirmed — as I would expect all of these HASC nominees to be, barring surprises. In a time when the relationship between the Pentagon and Intelligence Community on space issues is particularly sensitive, Bingen will probably play a major role in steering the various interests.
The other new nominee is a particularly sensitive one, Robert Story Karem to be assistant Defense Secretary for international security affairs. Karem has long experience on the Hill, having served as policy advisor to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He worked as a foreign policy advisor for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and was an advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney. Given that his job oversees policy for NATO, the countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Story faces an enormous minefield of Russian provocations, the cracking of the European Union‘s structure, Brexit, and whatever results we see from the French elections.
These choices continue the trend of appointing House and Senate aides to the second and third tier of policy jobs.