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Journal's reporting this morning that pres elect Barack Obama is the only thing toward asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on the job.
For at least a year a senior pentagon official said mr.
gates would likely accept and continue to oversee.
The military and 515.
Billion dollar budget.
Also on this veterans day there -- a question on who the new president will -- as the secretary veteran affairs after campaigning.
But a promise to increase veterans' benefits.
Larry Korb is a former assistant Defense Secretary under Ronald Reagan and is also senior fellow.
But the Center for American Progress and -- -- the former deputy secretary of veteran affairs under President Bill Clinton good morning gentlemen thank you so much for being here.
Good morning all right let me start with that former secretary Powell you know we're hearing word that perhaps he might choose to keep gates on -- position.
What does that suggest about what we think will be Obama's policy over the next four.
Well I didn't -- it also are in the salaries.
If you're -- what it says to me very simply is is that he has -- filling his.
Campaign promise of seeking highly competent motivated individuals who are prepared to serve their country.
Lawrence you know -- there has been so much talk about.
These -- is of the troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Where -- secretary of defense Robert Gates fits into Obama's conversation about a troop withdrawal out of Iraq.
Do they have to come to some agreement.
About some of those discrepancies.
Before he could take the job.
A very definitely I mean you want -- secretary of defense who supports.
Your plan Nazis Senator Obama president elect Obama has been very.
Adamant that he wants to get all combat troops out of -- out of Iraq within sixteen months this is not a position that Secretary Gates supports he wants to.
Leave -- -- until he feels that conditions are are better.
It's -- president elect Obama wants to send those troops to Afghanistan Secretary Gates says well he wants to wait til they kick.
Take them out of out of out of Iraq so I think there is a fundamental difference between the two and obviously if Secretary Gates is going -- Stay on they're gonna have to come to some agreement on that.
You know un secretary Powell one of the things that.
We all know facing this election is.
It's the first time that we're seeing a transition.
During the war in forty years the stakes are so incredibly high.
When selecting this Defense Secretary if in fact it is not Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
What should be their requirements because we're in -- time we're fighting two wars at the same time.
The issue for Secretary Gates selection -- that he is -- -- or whoever is chosen.
Is much the same as it would be for almost any other cabinet level secretary according to what mr.
Obama has said he wants competent.
That job is one that obviously would need a seasoned hand.
Having a transition to an unknown or does someone who is not prepared to step in -- -- and have the confidence of the military.
But also have the confidence of the president I have a feeling based on what we've seen have Senator Obama.
That he likes people who will challenge and he said that many many times and you happen to the people that are on his campaign and how they talk about the campaign worked inside etc.
We've seen an individual who enjoys that type of challenge because it forces him to think.
I think it also.
Is important that you have lively discussion on a book on issues as opposed to a -- that point of view that doesn't get examined as it situation -- out evolved.
-- no great point -- I do want to read you a couple of the other means that had been mentioned one of course is senator chuck cable.
And we've also heard Colin Powell now of course he at one time was secretary of state under the Bush Administration although he has suggested he wouldn't be interest did.
What do you think of those names that mr.
-- let's start with you.
I think senator hagel would be the perfect secretary of defense -- is a Vietnam veteran listed soldier was wounded -- -- He's had experience he was number two -- the veterans administration.
Worked together in the Reagan administration.
He's been successful businessman and manager.
Obviously spent a senator for twelve -- twelve years and he has a worldview that I think really understands the role of America -- -- military power.
Colin Powell would be great if he would do that he'd be like.
One of his heroes George Marshall who now have to leaving the obvious -- the secretary of state and then as secretary of defense.
Secretary Powell you know we mentioned at the very beginning here it's veterans day -- happy veterans today.
But the importance of the veteran affairs department is just crucial and the relationship between.
Veteran affairs and the Defense Department why is it's so crucial and how we need to improve it.
The VA most people don't realize is -- second largest federal department its budget is almost 94 billion dollars.
VA has over 250000.
Employees and their job is to -- care for our men and women who served.
The issue of veterans health care should be seamless from the active duty into their retired and veteran status.
There's benefits administration that's part of that that provides the oversight for the home loan business for them the basic disability veterans' benefits that are -- There's a wide variety of activities -- be a careful.
It also runs the largest hospital system in the country and actually one of the best which is consistently have made there.
All right so secretary Powell I I hate to be isn't fortunately we're gonna have to go but as I mentioned want to -- -- -- veterans day mr.
-- thank you guys.
So much for being here great topic of conversation of course hopefully we'll see that announcement come out pretty soon.
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