McCain Taps Former Speech Writer to Direct Defense Panel Staff

The parlor game of where ‘will the top staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee go’ can be declared over. Peter Levine will be heading over to the Pentagon, where almost all long-time Democratic staff have headed since the Obama administration took power. He may be taking the newly created post of chief management officer, we hear.

Sen. John McCain’s most important pick for the SASC — his new staff director for the committee — is Chris Brose, the easy-to-spot former speechwriter for Condoleeza Rice. He starts when Congress comes back in January. Brose has taken an interest in one of the Pentagon’s toughest issues: how to improve the parlous state of information technology and cyber acquisition. Given the push we can expect after the budget comes out in February from both new HASC chairman Mac Thornberry and the Pentagon to rebuild the acquisition system, it will be interesting to see how much attention he gives the issue on the Senate side. McCain has traditionally been pretty active on improving how the Pentagon buys its weapons.

Brose, who worked at Foreign Policy magazine for a short stretch, has been McCain’s man on both defense and intelligence issues and was presumed to have the job in hand.

John Bonsell, the current Republican staff director under Republican Jim Inhofe, is leaving the committee. Not sure where he’s headed.

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