Pentagon’s views on new NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment

NATO headquarters in Brussels.

From Al Kamen, the Washington Post:  Military/industrial folks are grousing that the Obama administration gave away to the French a key job – the NATO assistant secretary general for defense investment (ASG) – a position traditionally held by an American. The incumbent, Peter Flory, will be replaced by Patrick Auroy – not, as the Pentagon wanted, by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Soligan.

This is a key position for industry, and it means a reduced U.S. influence in NATO and, closer to home, a reduction in support for U.S. business, we’re told.

Not to worry, the Pentagon says. Even without an American in the post, the United States still has the lead role in NATO, so "there is no doubt that we will continue to have a dominant say on defense investments and armaments cooperation," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said in an e-mail.

Besides, Morrell reminded, all the members agreed last year that, as part of NATO’s reform, the big four (the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany) "would no longer ‘own’ " particular ASG positions and the Italians would no longer have the deputy secretary general slot.

NATO now has 28 members, so it would not have been "realistic" to think the United States would snag two of the five open ASG posts. (It got one.)  (photo: NATO)

Image: nato10.jpg