Inman itching to get down to business: Pentagon officials welcome the new US Secretary of Defense as one of their own

THE carefully planned replacement of Les Aspin by Admiral Bobby Ray Inman as US Secretary of Defense is proving a political success for President Bill Clinton. Unlike many previous Clinton appointees Admiral Inman, once deputy head of the CIA, will face little opposition in Congress and is being welcomed by the Pentagon, where Mr Aspin was deeply unpopular.

It is becoming clear that Mr Clinton has been planning for at least a month to get rid of his Defense Secretary but Mr Aspin only realised he was going to lose his job on Tuesday. Mr Clinton's priority was evidently to appoint somebody who could get on with the military.

In appointing Admiral Inman, whose entire career in Washington has been spent in intelligence, Mr Clinton chose a man famous for his ability to cultivate Congress and the media. He also pleased the armed forces by appointing only the second former military officer in history to be Defense Secretary.

Admiral Inman has served in every branch of intelligence - naval, military, National Security Agency and CIA - under both Democrats and Republicans. In the outpourings of praise for his capabilities yesterday the only sour note was the recollection that William Casey, under whom Admiral Inman served at the CIA, had once called him 'brilliant, brittle, a golden boy worried about his own image'.

It was after differences with Mr Casey in 1982 that Admiral Inman resigned from government and entered private business. After Mr Clinton announced his appointment on Thursday, Admiral Inman underlined that over the last 10 years 'I've learned a lot about how business works'. He said he hoped to bring the best business practices to the Pentagon.

His promise to introduce business efficiency is bizarre, since Admiral Inman's own business career has been less than successful. Not only did he have a close relationship with James Guerin, the US arms dealer now serving 15 years in jail, but he was on the proxy board of Mr Guerin's International Signal and Control. The sale of ISC, its value grossly inflated by fraud, to Ferranti International for dollars 670m in 1987 struck a crippling blow to the British defence company.

Admiral Inman should have found it easy to turn his immense network of political and military contacts to his business advantage. Yet Tracor Inc, a defence contractor with which he was associated, filed for bankruptcy in 1991. In 1989, when Admiral Inman resigned from Westmark Systems, which had taken Tracor private, he said, according to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, that 'everybody understood' when he took the job that he knew nothing about finance.

Nevertheless, Admiral Inman was chairman of the audit committee of a mail-order computer company called Dell Computer which became mired in a scandal over currency speculation and was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He resigned from Dell on being nominated as Secretary of Defense.

It is a measure of his success as a bureaucrat in Washington that Admiral Inman's business career is unlikely to derail his confirmation by the Senate. Although his intelligence and organisational talent is universally praised, nobody, possibly not even Mr Clinton, knows what he is going to do at the Pentagon. Admiral Inman himself says he hopes to ensure that the American people get 'a dollar value for a dollar spent in defence'.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Developer (C#, ASP.NET, AJAX, JavaScript, MVC, HTML)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...

C# R&D .NET Developer-Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET,MVC

£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...

C# Developer (Web, HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET, JS, Visual Studios)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Developer (ASP.NET, F#, SQL, MVC, Bootstrap, JavaScript)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?