Each morning as I begin to read the press, I hold my breath expecting to hear who has been nominated to be secretary of defense. That, I believe, is the key appointment President-elect Obama will make. As we all know, the Department of Defense spends roughly 58% of all disposable revenues of the USG (and is already lobbying for a significant increase); moreover, it has grown in various new directions (diplomacy, disaster relief, etc.) that in sum make it virtually a state within the state. So, unless Mr. Obama gets a hold on it and reins in at least some of its more lavish and intrusive programs, it is hard to see how he can effect the "change" he has taken as the motto for his presidency.
If he decides, as I fear he may, to continue Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, he will among other things be affirming the June 2008 National Defense Strategy (approved by Gates). The paper (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/2008%20national%20defense%strategy,pdf ) sets out a somewhat more nuanced and linguistically less bellicose policy that the previous (noncon-inspired or -written) 2005, 2006 and 2007 versions, but is still far from what (I hope) Mr. Obama wants America to do (and be perceived to be) in the world community.
I think therefore that continuing Secretary Gates in office would "signal," as we used to say in my government days, pretty much business as usual.
Whatever Mr. Obama decides on Secretary Gates, he certainly should appoint someone or a committee to review the June 2008 Strategy.
If you agree with me, would it not be worth trying to get this message to the President-elect quickly through any channels any of us may have?
My best to you, Bill
William R. Polk