Trump Stacks the Pentagon and Intel Agencies With Loyalists. To What End?

first_imgKashyap Patel, Anthony J. Tata and Ezra Cohen-Watnick — three aides whose promotions were announced in a Pentagon statement on Tuesday — are viewed as highly ideological Trump foot soldiers. Mr. Patel has a long history of trying to discredit the investigations into Russian interference, Mr. Tata’s nomination was withdrawn over the summer in part because he had called President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader,” and Mr. Cohen-Watnick was quietly eased out of the National Security Council in 2017 after clashes with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, then the national security adviser.The three are not believed to have the stature to bully Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the head of the military’s Central Command, into initiating operations, whether overt or secret, against Iran or other adversaries during the final days of Mr. Trump’s presidency.- Advertisement – And a senior official close to Christopher C. Miller, the new acting defense secretary appointed on Monday, said that it was clear from Mr. Miller’s meetings with Mr. Trump that the president has deep reluctance in launching offensive military operations as his time in office nears an end. That is not what his political base seeks, and it runs counter to Mr. Trump’s calls to get troops out of so-called forever wars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.During a meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump’s message to Mr. Miller, the official said, was to do nothing new or provocative.When jobs open in the last days of an administration, they are usually filled by deputies, whose only charge is to keep the wheels of government turning at least until Inauguration Day.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img It was a sign of the changed atmosphere that when James H. Anderson, an expert on military strategy and missile defense, left the Pentagon after being fired from the No. 3 position — acting under secretary for policy — he was “clapped out,” or applauded by officials lining the halls. A report on Twitter by William Kristol, the conservative commentator who has opposed Mr. Trump, said the White House sought the “names of any political appointees who joined in so they could be fired.”It is possible, some officials say, that what is happening is no more than résumé padding, allowing some of Mr. Trump’s loyalists to claim they held top posts, albeit briefly, or to cement some policy changes before Mr. Biden can take office and seek to reverse them.last_img read more

USC sponsors annual Sacnas Conference

first_imgUSC is sponsoring the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science’s annual national conference, “Creativity, Vision, & Drive: Toward Full Representation in STEM,” from Oct. 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.SACNAS is a national organization comprised of scientists who are committed to the academic success of Hispanic, Chicano and Native American students, postdoctoral researchers and professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.“At the beginning of each school year, we give all new incoming Hispanic students a planner of resources, and SACNAS is one of those resources,” said William N. Vela, director of El Centro Chicano. “The number of Latinos and Native Americans [in science] are underrepresented and programs like SACNAS give them more resources, role models and exposure to those fields.”Since its founding in 1973, SACNAS has become a network of 25,000 members, partners and friends, according to its website. USC is home to one of two independent chapters in the Los Angeles community.“SACNAS is the largest national organization that promotes STEM careers for underrepresented groups,” said Alexis Moreno, assistant vice dean of diversity and strategic initiatives at USC. “It started two years ago with the idea of getting students, from undergraduate to graduate to postdoctoral, and connecting them to national networks.”According to Moreno, the university’s sponsorship of the event will enable undergraduates participating in the convention to meet USC faculty, students and administrators, as well as tour university science facilities such as the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations and the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.“It should be exciting,” Moreno said. “Thursday night there’ll be a welcome concert by [LA-based Chicano rock band] Quetzal and Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Dean Steve Kay will be making remarks at Friday’s lunch.”Beatriz “Abril” Lopez-Bermudez, a senior majoring in chemistry who hails from Mexico City, is a member of USC’s SACNAS chapter.“SACNAS has been an important source of information,” she said. “I’ve become more knowledgeable about the resources offered to students in STEM majors.”Her principal investigator, chemistry professor Brent Melot, introduced her to the organization.“He explained that it would be a great idea for me to be part of it and participate in their conference this year,” Lopez-Bermudez said.Lopez-Bermudez plans to present a paper that she and her mentors worked on entitled “Dependence of the Li-Ion Conductivity and Activation Energies on the Crystal Structure and Ionic Radii in Li6MLa2Ta2O12.”“Since this is my very first conference, I am really looking forward to meeting people in the field of chemistry and energy, as well as to present what we’ve been working on in lab,” Lopez-Bermudez said. “I want to make both my mentors and my school proud.”Vela believes USC’s involvement in SACNAS offers a promising future for its minority students.“I think it’s a great thing that USC has decided to take the lead on this,” Vela said. “In addition to the groups like Latinos and Native Americans, there are some groups within those groups that are even smaller in number, like Latina women, and I would think that to have any national organization geared specifically towards them really brings pride to those students and gives them a sense of belonging.”last_img read more