Two major posts at the Department of Defense are one step closer to being filled. At a joint hearing, Army Secretary nominee Ryan McCarthy and Air Force Secretary nominee Barbara Barrett were questioned on their suitability for the leadership roles. Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr (Ret.- USA), director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, said that senators had some good points in their questioning.
“Usually these things can deteriorate pretty quickly into constituent issues or grand-standing. There was actually some serious questioning… they all seemed pretty inquisitive on their particular issues,” Spoehr said. “Senator Cotton talking about the use of the F-35 in Iraq. I thought that was an interesting point. Senator Duckworth was interested in logistics in the Indo-Pacific area. That was fairly inquisitive. And Senator Holly wanted to know about Army Futures Command and what they were doing. Again, It seemed to be serious questions with an attempt to find some answers.”
Melanie Sisson, senior fellow & director of the Stimson Center Defense Strategy & Planning Program, says that comparing Barrett and McCarthy’s leadership experiences raises a few interesting elements.
“It was an interesting dichotomy that we had there. We have a very experienced known quantity in McCarthy. Barrett on the other hand is interesting in part because her past experiences are varied and if we know anything about her it’s that she can learn. She can learn new organizations, learn new tasks,” “There was an interesting interplay in terms of the level of detail that McCarthy was able to answer questions with, as opposed to Barrett who could give general, competent answers.”