Fletcher in the News

Dean Stavridis Discusses President Obama's Nominee for Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work

Dean Stavridis The Fletcher School

Bob Work Can Dodge Budget Questions—for Now

Robert Work can blame the snowstorm for this.

President Obama's pick for deputy Defense secretary was slated to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, but the snow blanketing Washington that day canceled the hearing. So Work took the hot seat just one day after his soon-to-be boss, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, unveiled the Pentagon's request for next year's budget—and a list of controversial cuts…

…Work has a reputation for being, essentially, a defense budget wonk, which could prove useful as the department downsizes. He "is first and foremost an analyst," said retired Admiral James Stavridis, a former top military commander of NATO, who "knows the budget inside and out."

Stavridis, the dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, has known Work since the late 1990s, when they served together as assistants to former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig. "[Work] is better than anyone I know at taking huge amounts of data and boiling them down and drawing coherent conclusions," Stavridis said.

Work will also be good at organizing coalitions both within the Pentagon and in Washington's other power corridors, including Congress—a necessary skill when trying to convince people to get on board with tough budget cuts, Stavridis said. Work's nearly three decades in the Marine Corps will give him "superb credibility with the uniformed side of the building," the retired admiral predicts. "He'll be a consummate inside-the-building operator."

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