Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin is Executive Vice President at Family Research Council. This article appeared in Real Clear Defense on April 20, 2018.
Mike Pompeo has the leadership, experience, instincts, and training to be successful as the next Secretary of State. In fact, he is the most prepared and capable nominee for Secretary of State since Colin Powell. The State Department is desperate for a leader who has a vision for taking the Department in the right direction. After eight years of abysmal leadership from Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, the world has become a more dangerous place. North Korea and Iran now have nuclear weapons, Russia has crossed many red lines including their attempts to impact U.S. elections, and China increases every day as an economic and military threat to this nation. This is all due in no small measure to failed leadership at the Department of State. Furthermore, Secretary Tillerson failed to provide a clear vision and strong leadership during his tenure, but Mike Pompeo is poised and experienced, ready to lead and represent America on the world stage.
Pompeo has the experience needed to get the job done as Secretary of State. After graduating from West Point where he was trained to lead, he served in the Army as a Captain, leading some of America’s finest warriors. He clearly understands the threats and complexities of our world and also the imperative to provide courageous and inspirational leadership. Mike Pompeo also served in Congress on the House Intelligence Committee, House Select Committee on Benghazi, and House Subcommittee on the CIA. During his time in Congress, he was a strong voice on national security intelligence and foreign policy – advocating for policies that kept America secure. Most recently, he has been serving as the CIA Director overseeing America’s premier intelligence agency tasked with keeping America safe and advancing our interests in the world. Mike Pompeo has proven to be an asset to President Trump. Throughout his time at the CIA, he has focused on helping beef up our cybersecurity capabilities and pushing back against Russian aggression, terrorist organizations, and North Korea and Iranian nuclear ambitions. He has all the qualifications to be an outstanding Secretary of State.
There is much criticism that says Director Pompeo is a war hawk, which I think is simply untrue. He is a sensible man who will advocate for military solutions as a last resort. And when he does recommend the use of that element of national power, it will be accompanied by both a plan to win and a clear exit strategy. Mike Pompeo is his own man who is thoughtful and analytical. As a former Army Captain, he understands the costs of going to war, and I am convinced that he would pursue diplomacy before war. But it is important to understand that when one lives in a world of irrational bullies, as we do today, we need a man who understands how and when to push the military option with the Commander in Chief. Our adversaries will have much greater respect for Mike Pompeo than they had for the tag team of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Mike will lead the nation’s diplomats with wisdom and purpose.
Director Pompeo was already confirmed by the U.S. Senate – with a bipartisan 63 votes – to lead the CIA as its director. There is no serious or legitimate reason to play a game of obstruction with his nomination at a time when we are faced with numerous foreign policy and national security challenges in Syria, North Korea, China, and Russia. Obstructing Director Pompeo would threaten the nation’s ability to engage in important diplomatic relations. This is not a time for partisan political gamesmanship. Confirming Director Pompeo as Secretary of State is a critical element in mitigating numerous foreign policy and national security challenges our country faces today.