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    Next Secretary of Defense to Face Controlling White House: US Congressman

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    The most urgent challenge for the next Secretary of Defense is to champion his own ideas under the tight control of the White House, US Congressman Randy Forbes explained.

    WASHINGTON, December 2 (Sputnik) – The next US Secretary of Defense will face a controlling White House that has not regularly listened to advice from the Pentagon, US Congressman Randy Forbes told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "Regardless of who the new Secretary of Defense is, unless the White House modifies its position and starts having the Secretary of Defense have the freedom to fully give his or her advice, then we are never going to have the kind of defense planning we feel we need to have in this country," Forbes said.

    Forbes, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, told Sputnik that Pentagon leaders need the freedom to put their ideas on the table. "We have had testimony before our committee that the White House has not often listened to their military strategy," he said referring to testimony from top Department of Defense officials.

    Last Monday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel resigned his position after two years of serving in the Obama administration. In his six years in office, President Barack Obama has gone through two defense secretaries, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates. Both officials criticized the White House in tell-all books and public appearances after they left the administration.

    Congressman Forbes told Sputnik that he does not know for certain the reason for Hagel's resignation, but it is possible that he was asked to step down because "he was giving advice to the White House that they maybe weren't very receptive to hearing."

    However, the reason for Hagel's resignation is likely the highly controlling leadership style of the White House, Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon said.

    "He [US President Barack Obama] is going to keep going through these guys unless they do just whatever he tells them to do," McKeon told members of the press on Tuesday.

    McKeon continued that the Secretary of Defense is under the direct control of the White House. "He [Obama] says do something, they say, "Yes sir," and go do it, regardless of the situation or what is best to do," said the chairman.

    In the past week, multiple nominees were announced as replacements to take Hagel's position at the Pentagon. Qualified candidates who announced they would not take the position include former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy, Secretary of Homeland Defense Jeh Johnson, and Senator Jack Reed.

    It has been reported Tuesday that former US deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter is likely to be President Barack Obama's favorite candidate for the post of the Pentagon's new chief.


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