Lots of military brass on Trump's cabinet shortlist

by Jeanette Steele, The San Diego Union-Tribune (Tribune News Service)
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President-elect Donald Trump has put several U.S. military luminaries on his cabinet shortlist — including what could mark a public-service rebirth for retired Army Gen. David Petraeus.

Trump met with Petraeus on Monday in New York to interview him for secretary of state.

Afterward, the former Army general told reporters it was a “very good conversation, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

Petraeus is the one-time U.S. Central Command leader and CIA director whose meteoric career trajectory was halted in 2012 by a scandal over an affair and mishandling classified material.

Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and gave her improper access to information. When exposed, Petraeus had to resign as CIA director. He later pleaded guilty in a misdemeanor deal that avoided jail time.

Since then, he has largely stayed out of the national spotlight.

Petraeus is known for championing counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he oversaw troop surges on both battlefields.

He is also famously bookish, with a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton.

Petraeus’ major rivals for the State job are reportedly 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Another big military name on Trump’s cabinet “maybes” list is retired Gen. James Mattis.

Perhaps the best-loved living Marine Corps general, “Mad Dog” Mattis interviewed with Trump before Thanksgiving for the defense secretary position.

Mattis is known as a warrior-scholar with deep love for his troops and a flair for words.

Another retired Marine Corps four-star, Gen. John Kelly, is reportedly being considered for two positions in the Trump administration — State and Homeland Security.

Kelly, who commanded Camp Pendleton troops in Iraq, may be a fringe candidate for State, given the competition.

But his time as head of U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for U.S. security in Central and South America and the Caribbean, could play well as credentials for the Homeland position.

Kelly is also known for his unfortunate status as the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to have lost a child to the war in Afghanistan. His youngest son, a Marine first lieutenant, was killed in Sangin in 2010.

Trump is reportedly considering Navy Adm. Michael Rogers for director of national intelligence, the top intelligence adviser to the president.
Rogers, who is still serving in uniform with four stars, is currently director of the National Security Agency.

That position became controversial this month as the Pentagon and the current national intelligence director have reportedly called for him to be removed, with poor performance cited as one of the reasons.

Rogers started out his career on ships but moved into the intelligence field as a cryptology officer in 1986. He previously led the Navy’s U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

While it’s not a cabinet position — and so doesn’t require congressional approval — the job of national security adviser has been handed to retired Army three-star Michael Flynn.

Flynn, a career Army intel officer, was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency until reportedly forced out by the Obama administration in August 2014 following friction inside and out of the agency over style and approach.

Flynn has been a vocal Trump supporter and his leading backer in the military community.

A frequent Twitter user like Trump, Flynn has employed the platform to attack Hillary Clinton over her email, denounce radical Islam and promote the idea of American exceptionalism and his book, “The Field of Fight.”

©2016 The San Diego Union-Tribune
Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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