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Ret. Marine Major General Details Years In Washington, Trump’s Transition

Arnold Punaro, a former top Senate staffer, is speaking Dec. 1 in Coronado

Ret. Marine General Details Years In Washington, Trump's Transition


Arnold Punaro, author, "On War and Politics: The Battlefield Inside Washington's Beltway"


Photo caption:

Photo credit: Naval Institute Press

The book cover for "On War and Politics: The Battlefield Inside Washington's Beltway," by Arnold Punaro.

President-Elect Donald Trump is filling out his cabinet, but he hasn't yet settled on a pick for Secretary of Defense.

Retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro is one of many unofficial advisors in that transition effort after spending decades as a top staffer for the Senate Armed Services Committee and the defense industry. Punaro supported Hillary Clinton in the campaign over some of the comments Trump made about Sen. John McCain's service and Purple Heart recipients.

"That's in the past. We all have an obligation to look toward the future," Punaro said. "We’ve got incredibly difficult challenges in the world and with our military. We need to help the new team get confirmed with talented people."

Punaro has written a memoir, "On War and Politics: The Battlefield Inside Washington's Beltway," and will be speaking Thursday at 6 pm at the Coronado Public Library. He said he's been impressed with the Trump transition effort so far, but has advice after helping get 10 Secretaries of Defense get confirmed: make sure the nominee prepares.

"Look at (former Secretaries of Defense) Les Aspin and Chuck Hagel," Punaro said. "Hagel never recovered from his poor performance in the confirmation hearing. They basically didn’t study up, thinking they can wing it. You can’t do that."

Punaro joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more details about his work advising the Pentagon and what hopes he has for Trump's administration.


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