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National security switcheroo: Panetta to DOD, Petraeus to CIA?

President Barack Obama will nominate current Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta to replace Robert Gates as defense secretary when Gates retires this year, and Panetta will be succeeded by Gen. David Petraeus, currently the top U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan, news outlets are reporting.

The changes are expected to take place this summer, according to the Associated Press.

The White House has not yet confirmed the claims but Obama is expected to discuss personnel changes to his national security team in a press briefing April 28.

Officials told the AP that Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, will replace Petraeus as the top commander in Afghanistan.

The AP report also said Panetta’s experience as the former director of the Office of Management and Budget will suit him well to take on the major budget-cutting in store for the Defense Department.

Further top-level staff shakeups are imminent – Adm. Mike Mullen will step down this year as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Robert Mueller’s term as FBI director will also expire this year. Mullen’s current deputy, Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, appears to be his likely successor. No replacement is yet clear for Mueller’s FBI position.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Apr 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM


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