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Sestak Possible For SecNav?


Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.), the former admiral who was fired by the man who is now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, appears to be in the running for Navy Secretary.

At this point it is hard to tell if Sestak is promoting himself -- often the kiss of death for those seeking senior positions in a new administration -- or if the Obama administration is considering his nomination.

On the first day he rose to lead the Navy, then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen fired Sestak, who was deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and programs. Two years later Sestak retired from the Navy. He was canned for creating a "poor command climate." In plain English, the driven naval leader treated those who worked for him badly, often using his temper to lash those who worked for him. Some of his staff quit without new jobs.

Still, some sources who know Sestak praise his intellect and drive, noting that he rose fast and far in the Navy. And two political observers noted that he unseated former Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Penn.), defeating the veteran congressman with a substantial 56 percent of the vote.

In other transition news, Air Force Secretary Mike Donley looks to have a reasonable shot at staying on in his position. Among the compelling reasons for his remaining is the terrible churn the Air Force has suffered at the highest levels over the last five years. Since 2004 there have been five acting or confirmed Air Force secretaries and Donley's predecessor, Mike Wynne, was canned by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Keeping Donley, especially since Gates has decided to stay, would send a strong signal to the service that Gates wants to continue the changes that Donley has begun to improve the nuclear enterprise and generally rebuild the service.

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