Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday voiced his support for James Clapper’s nomination to be the next director of national intelligence. “I think the President could not have found a better person, a more experienced person or [one] with a better temperament to do this job and actually make it work, than Jim Clapper,” said Gates, who commented while en route to Azerbaijan. Clapper’s temperament will allow him to develop “constructive, positive chemistry” with leaders of the intelligence community, a crucial aspect of this job, said Gates. But not everyone was happy about the nomination. Sen. Kit Bond, (R-Mo.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, charged that Clapper “lacks the necessary clout with the President, has proven to be less than forthcoming with Congress, and has recently blocked [Congressional] efforts to empower the DNI.” Accordingly, Bond says he’s “not inclined to support” Clapper’s nomination. (See Clapper Tapped for Top Intel Post above.) (Gates comments) (Bond statement)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.