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Blurring Line Between Military & Intelligence

By Max Fisher, The Atlantic - April 28, 2011

President Obama is expected to announce a major change in U.S. military and intelligence leadership this week, appointing Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta to Secretary of Defense and moving General David Petraeus into Panetta's job at the CIA. Petraeus led the U.S. war in Iraq and then CENTCOM, which is in charge of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, before being putting in charge of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. The move, which stands to tighten the increasingly close bonds between the Pentagon and CIA, could have major repercussions for how the U.S. wages war, in Afghanistan and in the near-global fight against terrorism.

As National Journal's Marc Ambinder and Yochi Dreazen write, the move in many way indicates continuity. The same senior staffers will continue to focus on many of the same tasks. But the staff changes do indicate that the ways in which those staffers approach those tasks will change in important ways. This will be especially significant in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which, since Obama's escalation of the U.S.-led war there in 2009, has been a top focus of both the Pentagon and the CIA.

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