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Anti-Defense Secretary

Would Chuck Hagel be the second coming of Louis Johnson?

Jan 28, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 19 • By MACKUBIN THOMAS OWENS
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A defense secretary like Louis Johnson is surely not the best choice to lead the Pentagon during a time of austere budgets. But this is what we are likely to get with Hagel. While both former secretary of defense Robert Gates and the incumbent, Leon Panetta, have warned that substantial defense cuts will adversely affect national security, Hagel, like Johnson in 1949, seems to relish the opportunity to gut the defense budget without regard to geopolitical realities. 

Mackubin Thomas Owens is editor of Orbis, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and author of Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.

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