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Trump Shifting Authority Over Military Operations Back to Pentagon
By MICHAEL R. GORDONMARCH 19, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Trump is shifting more authority over military operations to the Pentagon, according to White House officials, reversing what his aides and some generals say was a tendency by the Obama White House to micromanage issues better left to military commanders.
The change is at the heart of a re-engineering of the National Security Council’s role under its new leader, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and reflects Mr. Trump’s belief that the N.S.C. should focus less on military operations and tactics and more on strategic issues. A guiding precept for the president and his team is that the balance of power in the world has shifted against American interests, and that General McMaster should focus on developing foreign and economic policy options in concert with the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies to respond to that challenge.
The new approach to managing military operations was evident this month when a Marine artillery battery and a team of Army Rangers — some 400 troops in all — arrived in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed off on the deployments and notified the White House. But General McMaster neither convened a meeting at the White House to discuss whether to send the forces nor presented the Pentagon with questions about where, precisely, the troops would operate or what risks they might confront.
Though the streamlined decision-making has been welcomed by many in the military, it could raise questions about whether Mr. Trump, who has drawn heavily from current and former generals to fill key jobs in his administration, is exercising sufficient oversight.
“For President Trump, it is very early days, but he appears to be going back to a model of greater delegation of authority,” said Michèle A. Flournoy, who was the Pentagon’s top policy official under President Barack Obama and is the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based policy group.
“The benefit is that it allows the military campaign to go forward without undue pauses, interruptions or delays,” Ms. Flournoy added. “That enables it to create more momentum and to be more responsive to changes on the battlefield. But there is a risk if there is inadequate oversight and the president stops paying close attention. It can be detrimental, even dangerous, if a commander in chief does not feel ownership of the campaign or loses touch with how things are evolving on the ground.”
Funny position for an authoritarian - delegation of authority.
Also interesting is the sense that the NSC has other things to worry about other than just military operations. Which is in line with having Steve Bannon on the NSC. Bannon:Trump = Bracken:Churchill. One of Bracken's star employees was a chap name of George Orwell.
One final thought.
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump's proposed cuts to Foreign Aid and International Development. Is it reasonable to suggest that Coca Cola, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut are more effective at selling America than any government programme? And they create American jobs both at home and overseas. High School kid as assistant shift supervisor becomes Head of Turkish operations.