President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering several notable Republican foreign policy operatives for secretary of defense.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading up Trump’s transition team. Sources familiar with the transition team told Politico they are considering Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, former Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and former Missouri Senator and defense expert Jim Talent. Notably, Sessions, Hadley, and Talent all supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq which Trump derided throughout the campaign.
Sessions serves as on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and is a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s plan to green-light more Syrian refugees into the U.S. Hadley, in turn, spent nearly 8 years in the Bush administration, starting as deputy to Condoleeza Rice. Hadley oversaw several crucial episodes of Bush’s foreign policy, and is a respected member of the Washington foreign policy establishment.
Talent lost his senate race in 2006 to now-Sen. Claire McCaskill, and emerged as a leading national security hawk in the foreign policy community. Talent currently serves as Senior Fellow and Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
Trump campaign national security surrogate Retired Gen. Michael Flynn is also reportedly being considered, but would need a congressional waiver to serve in office. Current U.S. law requires any military officer to be out of uniform for a period of seven years before being eligible to serve as secretary of defense.
The next secretary of defense will inherit active U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia. The Secretary is also responsible for maintaining military to military relationships with U.S. allies, and working within the NATO alliance.
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