Obama Shuffles Security Advisors

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 9:53am

Leon Panetta to head Defense Department, General Petraeus will lead CIA.

President Obama made a long rumored shuffling of his top security advisors official Thursday.

He's pulling General David Petraeus back to Washington to run the CIA and nominating Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense.

"I felt that it was absolutely critical that we had this team in place so we can stay focused on our missions," Mr. Obama said.

Ryan Crocker, current Ambassador to Iraq, will shift to Afghanistan.

Lt. General John Allen will run the war in Afghanistan, taking over from Petraeus.

Petraeus is the hero of Iraq, credited with the "surge strategy" that turned the war around.

He says his surge is working in Afghanistan

As CIA director Petraeus will run the drone war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda and manage the huge team of CIA analysts

Leon Panetta has served in Congress, worked as the White House as budget director and is the current head of the CIA.

That experience should serve him well as Secretary of Defense, where he'll be tasked with finding $400 billion in budget cuts.

"Panetta, an old hand in the cloakrooms at Congress, is the guy of choice to get in there and effectively slash spending in the Pentagon, but just as significantly to get the Congress to agree to it," says NBC Military Analyst Col. Jack Jacobs.

President Obama says his reshuffled team must cut costs without reducing America's security.

There is every indication that Panetta, Petraeus, Crocker and Allen will all be easily confirmed by the Senate.

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