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Lynn Is In As New DepSecDef

The full Senate completed installing the first wave of Obama appointments tonight, casting a suprisingly resounding vote of 93-4 to confirm Bill Lynn as deputy defense secretary.

Two Republicans, Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Charles Grassley of Iowa, voiced concern about Lynn before the Senate voted, according to reporting by the Associated Press. But McCain voted for Lynn in the end. Three Republicans voted no, including Grassley, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Cornyn of Texas. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whose firebrand comments about ethics during Lynn's confirmation later drew veiled criticism from Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), was alone among Democrats in opposing Lynn.

The full Senate approved Monday night the nominations of Robert F. Hale to be undersecretary of defense for comptroller, Michèle Flournoy to be undersecretary for policy, and Jeh Charles Johnson to be DoD's general counsel.

Lynn is in, but it seems a reasonable conclusion that the controversy over his background as a Raytheon lobbyist may have weakened his ability to make major acquisition decisions that might affect his former company, whether or not he is legally or ethically obligated to recuse himself. He does go in with pretty strong Senate support though groups such as POGO may help keep his feet to the fire.

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