Personal Relationships Matter in Forging Foreign Policy

By Todd Rosenblum

Todd M. Rosenblum served as President Obama’s Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs at the Pentagon, as well as Deputy Under Secretary of Intelligence for Plans, Policy, and Performance Management at the Department of Homeland Security. Over the course of a 27-year career, Rosenblum held positions with the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Department of State, and began his professional career as an Intelligence Officer in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Near Eastern Affairs.

A new presidential administration needs a team of political and career appointees to run the government, including the world’s most powerful military and a vast diplomatic and national security team. So far, President Donald Trump has nominated 347 individuals, but only 140 have been confirmed. At the same point in their Presidencies, George W. Bush had nominated 573 people with 316 confirmations; Barack Obama 450 with 321 confirmations. Out of those numbers, only 24 individuals have been confirmed at State (compared to 83 and 86 by the former presidents) and 15 at Defense (compared to 22 and 33).

Todd Rosenblum spent his career in federal service, divided between being a career employee at the CIA, Department of State, and on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He was also a senior political appointee at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, after serving on President Obama’s Presidential Transition Team responsible for national security appointments. The Cipher Brief’s Callie Wang asked him about the delay in key appointments for the Trump Administration, and how that will affect key national security agencies.

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