Speed Reads

Revolving Door

The new Pentagon chief is a wild card

A new report from The New York Times suggests President Trump's new Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller may shake things up in the final two months of his administration.

Sources who have worked with Miller, whom the Times describes as a "little-known counterterrorism official," told the paper he can display an irreverent demeanor that sometimes clashes with the seriousness of the policy matter he has handled, and he's reportedly developed a reputation for being hard-charging and perhaps dismissive of traditional bureaucratic vetting procedures. Meanwhile, a recent incident that involves him bypassing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's authority indicates he may prefer to "ask forgiveness, not permission," although that's less relevant now that he's on a level playing field with the nation's top diplomat.

The previously unreported incident, per the Times, consisted of Miller flying to Qatar to gauge whether the country may help with plans to either buy off or marginalize senior leaders of Shabab, Al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia. Pompeo eventually caught wind of the mission and shut it down, the Times reports, but people who worked with the former Green Beret officer weren't surprised by the unorthodox idea. "Based on Chris Miller's military background in the Special Forces, he would certainly have a lot of interest in working with irregular forces or others to defeat our terrorist enemies," Luke Hartig, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council during the Obama administration, told the Times. Read more at The New York Times.