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House panel votes to make it harder for retired generals to run the Pentagon

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03.09.2021

The House Armed Services Committee has voted to make it more difficult for a retired senior military officer to become secretary of defense, in a sign that Washington wants to reduce its reliance on former generals running the Pentagon.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which was adopted by voice vote late Wednesday and fully passed by the committee Thursday morning, would extend the period that retired officers must be out of uniform from seven to 10 years before becoming defense chief. The provision also stipulates that the requirement can be waived only if three-fourths of both chambers of Congress, or a super majority, approve. Right now, lawmakers can grant a waiver through a simple majority.

The proposal still needs to be adopted by the House and Senate, but it sends a clear signal that Republicans and Democrats believe that having two retired four-stars run the Pentagon in close succession — first Jim Mattis and now Lloyd Austin — went too far.

Both needed a congressional waiver to be confirmed because they had not been out of uniform the required seven years.

"I'm worried that the trend is going in the wrong direction," Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a retired Marine intelligence officer and sponsor of the amendment, said in an interview. "It is going in the direction that........

© Politico


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