Obama Loses Key Foreign-Policy Adviser

Posted on October 2, 2009. Filed under: America |

Holly Bailey

Big news from the West Wing: Mark Lippert, one of President Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers, is leaving to rejoin the Navy. Lippert, who is deputy national-security adviser and chief of staff of the National Security Council, has worked for Obama since his first days in the Senate and later advised him during the campaign. Perhaps no one on the foreign-policy team, save for fellow campaign vet and top NSC aide Denis McDonough, is closer to Obama—a situation that has sometimes raised questions about the relationship between Obama and Lippert’s direct boss, national-security adviser Jim Jones. At the height of the 2008 Democratic primary, Lippert, who is a member of the Naval Reserve, was deployed to Iraq but returned to advise Obama and ultimately accepted a top post in the administration. According to a White House official, Lippert is taking “leave” to rejoin the military as a Navy SEAL—though there’s no indication when he’ll return. It’s an admirable career move, but it will no doubt raise questions about the timing—after all, with Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, Obama’s foreign-policy decisions aren’t getting any easier. McDonough, who handles “strategic communications” for the NSC, is viewed by many as Lippert’s likely successor.

Read More at NewsWeek Blog

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