National Security

Trump Team Considers Keeping Obama’s Deputy Defense Secretary After Clash With Mattis


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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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President-elect Donald Trump is considering carrying over Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work into the new administration, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Work’s carry-over comes as the Trump transition team and secretary of defense nominee, James Mattis, reportedly continue to disagree over some of the team’s picks for Pentagon positions. An individual familiar with the transition told WaPo the carry-over was “all but a done deal.” Work would stay in his post for anywhere between three to six months.

Mattis reportedly rejected several candidates put forward by the transition team, and expressed interest in bringing on some Obama appointees into the new administration.

Michele Flournoy, a former Pentagon undersecretary for policy under Obama and current chief executive officer for the Center for a New American Security, was one of Mattis’ picks as deputy defense secretary, but she reportedly rejected the offer citing differences with Trump. Flournoy was considered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s probable choice for Secretary of Defense had she won the presidency.

Work, like Mattis, is a former Marine Corps officer, having served for 27 years before retiring in 2001. Like Flournoy, Work served as undersecretary of the Navy from 2009 to 2013. He also served as CEO of the Center for a New American Security before taking his position as deputy secretary of defense in 2014. Work has been a fundamental progenitor of the “Third Offset Strategy,” the Pentagon’s plan to incorporate modern day technology on the battlefield in various applications.

The Trump transition team has yet to fill several key Pentagon posts, including secretaries of the Navy, Air Force and undersecretary for policy.

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