WOKV's military affairs expert is sharing his thoughts on President Obama's controversial nominations.
On Monday, the President nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel to become the next Secretary of Defense. He also nominated White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to serve as the next CIA Director.
Admiral Bob Natter is a retired U.S. Navy Admiral who served as Commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Fleet Forces Command from 2000 to 2003. During that time, he says he “had dealings” with the then Sen. Hagel.
“I found him to be a thoughtful, very level-headed Senator,” Natter says.
Natter says it's obvious that Hagel is going to have some questions to answer in the hearings based on some controversial comments he made about Iran, Iraq and Latin America.
“But that’s what the hearings are for,” he says.
Natter thinks that those positions are worthy of questioning during the hearings, but he would give Hagel the benefit of the doubt after more than a decade.
As for John Brennan, Natter thinks he has done a “really good job” in the CIA so far.
“I think he would do a great job as CIA Director based on what I know about him,” he says.
Natter hopes that Congress and the current administration will “get their acts” together to come up with “something that makes sense with respect to our national budget and deficit.”
“If we don’t get that under control, eventually we’re gonna go the way of Spain and Greece and the rest of the countries over there that have not controlled their budgets and deficits,” he says.
The sequester – across-the-board to the Defense Department – was pushed back a few months for Congress and President Obama’s administration to debate again.
Instead of the sequester, Natter says he would like to see “intelligent cuts” instead of “stupid cuts,” which he says could be a disaster to the country’s defense.
“That across-the-board cut does not allow the secretary to decide what would be smarter cuts and what would be really stupid cuts,” he says. “It just combines them all into one pile and cuts them all. And that is, in my view, very stupid. And if the Defense Department is required to make cuts, they ought to be able to at least do it in an intelligent way.”
Natter hopes the current administration will follow through on its commitment to move a three or four ship amphibious ready group to Jacksonville.
“And I would fully expect this administration to do that,” he says.
According to Natter, it’s been up in the air a while. He says when the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy retired, there was talk that another carrier or additional ships would move to Jacksonville “primarily to allow for a strategic dispersal of the important surface ships of the Atlantic Fleet.”
He says the amphibious ready group would bring 2,500 families to Jacksonville, the same as an aircraft carrier.