Candid Statements From Defense Secretary Gates Hint At Possible Shift

Download Audio
Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Increasingly blunt statements from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have many wondering if there's a shift happening at the Defense Department.

Last week at West Point, Gates said any future secretary of defense who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or the Middle East should "have his head examined," and yesterday he warned frankly about the risk of a no fly zone over Libya.

Gates this week also named Lt. General John F. Kelly as his senior military adviser. Kelly is the highest ranking member of the American military to lose a son or daughter in Afghanistan.

And like Gates, Kelly has been speaking out.  He says there is a disconnect between the military and the American people, who he says are unaware of the sacrifice that troops are making. Kelly was nominated this week to the powerful position of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' senior military assistant.

Washington Post reporter Greg Jaffe joins us to talk about Gen. Kelly and also about Gate's vision of the future of the Army. Jaffe's latest book is "The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army."

This segment aired on March 3, 2011.


More from Here & Now

Listen Live