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Obama Fills DoD Transition Jobs

The nascent Obama administration has filled the job of lead for the Pentagon transition and it isn't Sam Nunn, as earlier reported by some media outlets.

Because of all the fog surrounding this story, I checked with a source familiar with Obama's defense team to confirm that Michele Flournoy, co-founder of the Center for a New American Security thinktank and former head of strategy under Clinton, is joining former Deputy Defense Secretary John White to head the team reviewing the Pentagon. White is now head of the Kennedy School's Middle East Initiative.

According to the Obama transition team's website, the agency review teams will advise Obama and other senior people "with information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration." Flournoy and White should start work by tomorrow. The main part of their jobs will be to "ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in."

Former Senator Sam Nunn will advise Obama and the Pentagon team as needed. A Pentagon source told me today that Paul Kaminski appears to remain in the running for deputy defense secretary. I hear from other sources that Kaminski turned down an offer to serve on the agency review team. Since the transition jobs rarely translate to administration positions, several sources said they think Kaminski wanted to remain in the game for a senior defense job. What this says about Flournoy's chances is unclear. She has worked with the Obama team for quite a while and is considered one of the leading Democratic defense minds.

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