Be Prepared

By Marjorie Censer / November 10, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Inside the Army this week has a good look at what to expect from the transition, according to former officials who suggested keeping a close eye on the new administration's plans for the size of the force and how it handles the Future Combat Systems program -- the Army's sweeping modernization effort.

Some, including former Army acquisition chief Paul Hoeper, suggested the next administration may have to choose between growing the force and improving equipment.

Despite the hard choices ahead, Arnold Punaro, a former Senate Armed Services Committee staffer, told ITA he expects the upcoming transition to be smooth.

“The Pentagon is more prepared than I’ve seen for transition,” he said, lauding the experience of the Defense Department's transition team and Obama's team.

“You’re not going to have any amateurs or rookies involved in this,” he said.

The transition may be even smoother if the current Pentagon acquisition executive sticks around -- which could happen, reported late last week. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked political appointees to consider staying in their posts until the Senate confirms their replacements to smooth the transition process. Whether John Young will be among those holdovers remains to be seen.

During a media roundtable on Oct. 30, John Young said he would stay in his post “((u))ntil they tell me to leave.”

Over on the Navy side, Inside the Navy reports today that service leaders are looking to the new Pentagon team -- and lawmakers -- for help:

On the eve of a new presidential administration, the Navy continues to conduct myriad missions at sea and ashore around the globe at a rate that is over-stressing portions of the force and requires continued support from the new administration and Congress, the sea service’s director of strategy and policy said in an interview last week.

“We’re pretty close to running at the margins,” Rear Adm. Robert Thomas said Nov. 4. “You can see where we’re overstressed in some areas in our steady-state posture and then you throw a contingency on it, now we’re cutting into bone.”