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Politics Pentagon policy chief's firing was part of White House purge

12:16  27 february  2020
12:16  27 february  2020 Source:   politico.com

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In an extraordinary move, the Pentagon chief " fired " the Navy secretary Sunday for going outside his chain of command by proposing a "secret agreement with the White House ," according to a senior defense official.

Siding with President Donald Trump, the Pentagon chief said Gallagher will keep his pin. Spencer attempted to persuade White House officials to talk Trump out of meddling in the Gallagher case shortly before the commander-in- chief fired back on Thursday tweeting that the “Navy will NOT be

The White House demanded the ouster of Pentagon policy chief John Rood last week after the former industry executive opposed the administration on plans to pull U.S. troops from Syria and its policy toward Chinese tech giant Huawei, six current and former Trump administration officials tell POLITICO.

John Rood wearing a suit and tie: Pentagon policy chief John Rood speaks during a February 2018 news conference. © Jacquelyn Martin, File/AP Photo Pentagon policy chief John Rood speaks during a February 2018 news conference.

Rood, who has served as undersecretary of Defense for policy since January 2018, resigned on Feb. 19 at the behest of President Donald Trump and will officially step down at the end of this week. Rood oversees implementation of national security policy throughout the Defense Department and is one of the defense secretary's top advisers.

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  Top Pentagon policy official expected to depart administration The Pentagon's top policy official is expected to depart his post soon, according to two sources familiar with the matter. John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, lost support among senior national security leadership and has been asked for his resignation, one of the sources said. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Rood is the Pentagon's top policy official and oversees aspects of the Pentagon's relationship with US allies and partners.

Esper raises concern with White House over Gallagher case. A Defense official told CNN Saturday that the Pentagon is strongly urging the White House to let Gallagher' s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, has said that the Navy' s decision to order the review of Gallagher' s status was part of an effort to

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At the National Security Council, Rood was known for his tendency to explode at underlings, leading to a steady string of high-level departures from the Pentagon over the past year. On top of that, the NSC chafed at Rood’s opposition to several key White House agenda items.

Trump’s campaign to root out “anti-Trump” members of his administration following his impeachment acquittal provided the NSC the perfect opportunity to finally oust Rood, current and former officials said.

“He never hesitated to tell the White House that he disagreed on stuff,” said one former administration official, citing the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and pulling U.S. troops from Syria —decisions former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also opposed before his own ouster. “He definitely wasn’t a loyalist.”

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The Pentagon Papers, officially titled Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States' political and military

Terms | Privacy Policy . Part of HuffPost Politics. The Defense Department and White House said Spencer was forced out because he privately tried to strike a side deal with the White House about Gallagher’ s case, according to A statement from the Pentagon said Spencer had lost Esper’ s trust.

Most recently, Rood opposed a rule from the Commerce Department that would have barred companies from selling to Huawei from overseas facilities. The Pentagon later dropped its opposition to the rule.

Rood had warned against Trump’s hold on military aid to Ukraine, which prompted the impeachment inquiry. But long before the scandal, sources say Rood clashed with NSC officials, particularly former national security adviser John Bolton and his core advisers Victoria Coates and Charles Kupperman.

Rood's office declined to comment. Before he leaves at the end of the week, Rood will testify Thursday afternoon before a House Armed Services subcommittee on nuclear issues.

Early last year, a group of NSC senior directors brought up complaints about Rood’s leadership style with Bolton, according to current and former officials. The sources expressed concern that Rood’s treatment of his staff, particularly widespread incidents of yelling at subordinates, was prompting senior leaders to leave the department.

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The Pentagon worries that the White House is moving too hastily and that giving the president too many options As part of a reoccurring annual military exercise, the U. S . and South Korea conducted drills that simulated strikes on “This is not firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in Syria, or

White House officials also expressed annoyance over a sharply critical two-page memo that Mr. Hagel sent to Ms. Rice last month, in which he warned that the administration’ s Syria policy was in danger of unraveling because of its failure to clarify its intentions toward President Bashar al-Assad.

Since Mattis left in December 2018, several high-ranking civilians have resigned. Of 58 Senate-confirmed positions at DoD, 18 are vacant, and that will rise to 19 once Rood departs at the end of this week.

“He’s the least liked guy in national security circles,” said one administration official. “It’s the most widespread negative view of any one official” that the source had encountered during their long tenure in the Trump administration.

Rood’s ouster has prompted fears within the Pentagon that Trump’s purge could extend to other officials seen as not sufficiently loyal to the president, said the first former administration official. People who are awaiting nomination or confirmation — including Elaine McCusker, whose nomination to be Pentagon comptroller may be in jeopardy due to her opposition to the Ukraine aid freeze — are seen as particularly vulnerable.

“There is a long list of names of people they are going to boot out and they are going to replace them with purely politicals,” the former official said.

Rood's ouster had been in the works for a while, the sources said. It took the arrival of a new director for the White House Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee, who Trump hired to oversee his post-impeachment loyalty purge, to push the final decision through. McEntee is “energetic and gets things done,” said the first administration official.

Another former defense official defended Rood as “a good Republican,” but noted that in the aftermath of the impeachment inquiry, the White House is eliminating all dissension and the Pentagon’s policy chief was “easily a target.”

“Rood has served in the public and private sector admirably. He is loyal to the mission, but I think President Trump has been convinced that Rood is an obstacle to his agenda,” the former defense official said.

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