President Barack Obama has sent the nominations of CIA Director Leon Panetta to be defense secretary and Army Gen. David Petraeus to fill Panetta’s post at CIA to the Senate for confirmation, the Defense Department reports.
Obama first announced the national security personnel shakeup April 28. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is set to retire at the end of next month. Gates, the first defense secretary to serve both a Republican and Democratic administration — he was a holdover from Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush — will leave big shoes to fill.
However, Panetta, a former congressman, Clinton-era budget director and surprise pick to head the CIA, is expected to apply his managerial acumen to the intractable issues surrounding the Pentagon’s finances.
Meanwhile, Petraeus, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, is expected to lead a continued integration of intelligence activities into military missions, while heading the nation’s top spy agency.
The Senate must confirm both nominations. Neither is expected to encounter much opposition, Agence France-Presse reports.