John Cole’s Balloon Juice flagged some especially appalling G.W. Bush burrowing by changing chain of succession to keep cronies in charge.
An executive order published without fanfare this month does away with a system for Pentagon succession instituted by former President George W. Bush, which played down the service secretaries and elevated positions held at the time by trusted aides to Donald H. Rumsfeld, who as defense secretary wanted it that way.
These plans governing Pentagon succession are intended to guarantee civilian control of the military during a doomsday situation, like a nuclear strike or a terrorist attack, when the defense secretary could be taken out of action at the moment when war-fighting decisions must be made. The Bush order, issued in December 2005, continued the traditional sequence of the deputy defense secretary as next in line. But it booted the Army secretary out of the No. 3 slot in the order of succession, in favor of the under secretary of defense for intelligence.
Political crony-ism was the rationale for anything and everything during the Bush Administration. So in case Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense was unable to perform their duties, an under secretary of defense, who was a Rumsfeld crony, was to be promoted before the Secretary of the Army.