Navy Secretary Tapped to Save Gulf. Who Will Save Him?

Our guess is stunned silence followed the appointment of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus as Gulf Restoration Grand Marshal.

Questions directed to Mabus’ spokesman were vectored to the White House. She said she had no further information on President Barack Obama’s choice of Mabus to create “long-term Gulf restoration plan” in the aftermath British Petroleum’s massive oil mishap in April. Though the disaster occurred miles off the Louisiana coast, the spill has impacted Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

Why Ray Mabus? Apparently the other service secretaries are too busy, though Mabus oversees both the Navy and Marine Corps. His work in the Gulf will be crucial. Damage of this magnitude to coastal waters and coastline is a security issue. We’d say a Department of Homeland Security issue.

According to reports, Mabus’ primary qualification as Gulf savior appears to be his term as governor of Mississippi. (Huey Long was governor of Louisiana.) Unfortunately, the Mississippi native spent much of his time in office battling the state legislature. That was 20 years ago, but could it impact his work in the region? In 1994 President Bill Clinton made him ambassador to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Mabus served briefly as a surface warfare officer toward the end of Vietnam. He has been Navy secretary for just more than a year.

We’ll speculate here – Mabus may stand to lose his service secretary position. The decision to dual hat him may be an effort to avoid embarrassment if they pipe him ashore one final time. (Again, speculation.)

If Mabus is getting the boot, is this about Mabus or the Navy? Some villages may be missing an idiot, but not the Navy. But its shrinking flotilla has been searching for a mission. Talk to guys like Chief of Naval Operations Gary Roughead, and he’ll point to the Navy’s myriad planning documents as proof it has a mission. (A plan or concept a mission not make! Henry V.) We like Gary. He’s smart and seems in touch with his Navy. But he over spends on programs like the questionable littoral combat ship, busts the budget on submarine purchases and has made diversity the Navy’s number one priority. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. (A service hawking diversity may not need a secretary.)

Ray Mabus: Best man for the Gulf restoration job or getting the boot from DoD?

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