Sen. John McCain is blocking President Obama's picks to fill senior Pentagon positions, calling their answers to questions at a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing Tuesday "naive" and "nonsensical."Good people can agree or disagree about LCS, and Sen. McCain is spot on about accountability - but to call Bob Work "naive" or "nonsensical" is just wrong and not worthy of the Senate.
The Arizona Republican was visibly frustrated that Robert Work, Obama's nominee for deputy Defense secretary, was not intimately familiar with a critical government report detailing cost overruns from the Littoral Combat Ship program.
Separately, McCain ripped Christine Wormuth, Obama's pick for undersecretary of Defense for policy. The nominee, he said, was either ignorant of the threat al-Qaida poses or was refusing to answer his questions about the terrorist group's spread.
"Their answers were not only naive but nonsensical," McCain told reporters Tuesday.
Both Bryan and Galrahn over at InfoDis have been very good on this sad little episode. First Bryan;
Senator McCain seems to have been troubled that Mr. Work had not read a 2013 GAO report on LCS, and all things considered, Work probably should have had some familiarity with it, if for no other reason that it is common knowledge that Senator McCain does not like LCS, Bob Work does, and McCain has a seat on his nominating committee. That said, Senator McCain's demeanor and approach in the hearing today bespoke petty score settling, and his suggestion that Work may not be qualified for the post of Deputy Secretary of Defense is just silly.... and now Galrahn;
How many folks involved in the Littoral Combat Ship program from 2005 - 2008 have been nominated and approved by Senator McCain to become a Flag Officer? The only person in this conversation who was legitimately in a position to hold people accountable for failures in the LCS program was Senator John McCain. The only person in this conversation whose record reflects a positive contribution to the Littoral Combat Ship program problems is Bob Work.Bob Work and I disagree on LCS, but that is fine - again - good people can disagree on some things, but as Ronald Reagan said,
Senator John McCain today is attempting to publicly slap Bob Work with the LCS program, which makes no sense because every data point suggests Bob Work was part of a team that took a really bad LCS program suffering from enormous cost problems, and clearly turned it around and got it back on track. If the Senator will publicly attack people who do a good job, and the same Senator voted affirmative for promotions to Navy officers who were directly involved in the problems of LCS, the Senator is hardly qualified to pass on judgment regarding qualifications, because the Senator is the one demonstrating clear lack of good judgment.
“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”Heck, give a listen to the 1-hr conversation we had with Work on Midrats.
Bob Work is a smart, dedicated professional who knows this business well. He has an open mind and an even temperament, and our nation would be well served in any position she found for him to serve.
If he is kept out of this post as a result of McCain's obtuse behavior, then we have yet another black mark on the record of a man whose record deserves better; not Bob Work, but John McCain.