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Obama Names DoD Team: Lynn for DepSec; Flournoy for Policy

The word is finally out on who will fill the crucial Defense Department posts under Secretary Gates. Biggest news -- Bill Lynn will be nominated as Deputy Defense Secretary, the man who runs the department on a day to day basis. Lynn brings one crucial skill at this challenging economic time: he knows how to work the numbers, having served as comptroller under President Clinton for roughly four years.

Here's the official announcement.

Lynn has a reputation as a thoughtful, thorough man who lacks the bluster of some of the more egotistical types who've occupied senior positions in the building. Hopefully, he will bring some of the knack for identifying serious but overlooked problems facing the department that John Hamre brought to the job when he was the deputy. The biggest challenge should be pretty simple: getting money out of OMB to pay the bills. Then there is rebuilding the acquisition system. I'm sure Paul Kaminsky will be willing to help Lynn out with this, at least on a quiet basis.

One other point -- Lynn knows PA and E, which he ran, and can help muster its impressive abilities to find something approximating programmatic ground truth. He comes from Raytheon, where he is senior vice president of government operations and strategy. Of course, he is close to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) having worked for him on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Robert Hale will be nominated as comptroller. The service he knows best is the Air Force, where he was assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller under Clinton. Before that, he was the rock of defense analysis at the Congressional Budget Office for 12 years.

The least surprising pick: Michèle Flournoy as undersecretary of defense for policy. Michele is about as prepared for this job as it is possible to get. She served as the unofficial defense policy coordinator for the Obama campaign from her perch as president of the Center for a New American Security. Before that, she was part of Hamre's defense team at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Of course, she served under Clinton as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy.

The name you will probably hear the least about if he is approved by the Senate will be Jeh Charles Johnson, who will serve as the department's general counsel. He comes from the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, to which he returned in 2001 after more than two years during which he was general counsel of the Air Force. He was a foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign.

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