Punaro to release book on career in Marines, on Capitol Hill

By Marjorie Censer / October 14, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Arnold Punaro, a retired Marine major general who spent more than 25 years working on Capitol Hill, this weekend will release a new book he hopes will encourage bipartisan compromise.

The book, "On War and Politics: The Battlefield Inside Washington's Beltway," relates Punaro's personal experiences growing up in Georgia, serving in Vietnam and working on the Senate Armed Services Committee and later for Science Applications International Corp.

During an interview with Inside Defense this week, Punaro said politics are today more polarized than during his time on the Hill, which began in 1973 and ended in 1997.

But he said he remains optimistic that Congress, the White House and the Defense Department can effect change.

"The good news is there's a general agreement on what the problem is," Punaro said, noting that many members of Congress and Pentagon officials oppose sequestration, want to reform acquisition and are concerned about the cost of the all-volunteer force and DOD overhead. "With the right leadership at the Pentagon, with the right leadership at the Congress . . . they're going to solve the problems."

He said the next presidential administration will also have to work to reduce hostility between it and Congress. "That move is going to have to be made by the White House," Punaro added.