Is the American political system broken?
Dr. Dov S. Zakheim is a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton where he is a leader in the firm’s global defense business, working with U.S. Combatant Commanders and allied and coalition ministries of defense worldwide.
Former United States government official Dov Zakheim was the Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller from 2001-2004 in the George W. Bush administration, and was a foreign policy advisor to that administration during the 2000 election campaign. From 1985-1987, during the Regan administration, Zakheim was Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. An Orthodox Jew, he helped to end the IAI Lavi Israeli fighter program. Previous to his work with the Bush administration, from 1987-2001, Zakheim served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and sat on a number of Defense Department panels, including the Task Force on Defense Reform, in 1997, and the Board of Visitors of Overseas Regional Centers, from 1998-2001. During those years he was also CEO of SPC International, a subsidiary of System Planning Corporation. Zakheim is on the editorial board of The National Interest Journal and has published a multitude of articles and monographs on defense issues. Zakheim earned his BA in government from Columbia University in 1970 and his PhD in economics and politics from St. Antony's College, Oxford University. He was an Adjunct Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, and an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College, where he was also Presidential Scholar. He has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the United States Naval Institute. Zakheim has received many awards for government and community service, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest civilian award.
Dov Zakheim: Well, I would hope the values don’t change. I think we have to be very careful how we react to terrorism. And there’s a huge debate about, you know, to what extent our freedom should be restricted or not. And you know, I think most Americans would agree that some restriction is important. It’s just like walking through that security line at the airport. But there is a line to be drawn, and we have to be careful of that. I think another area that we have to be careful of, frankly, is the balance of power in our government. I believe that the Congress is a very, very important and equal partner with the administration – any administration – and I was on both sides. And I know very well both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, as it were. And I know very well that sometimes bureaucracy views Congress as a greater enemy than anybody else. During the Cold War, they certainly feared Congress more than they did the Soviets. We have to recognize that Congress is an equal partner. And it’s interesting that however low the president’s popularity is, Congress is even lower. Which tells me that the right people aren’t running for Congress. That they’re being turned off by Congress. Look at all the retirements of some very, very good people over the last decade or so who just said, “Well this isn’t for me anymore.” Now that’s not good for this country. Now I think unless people feel that public service is a good thing, we’re gonna have a problem. And that probably worries me more than anything else.
Recorded on: 7/2/07
Zakheim talks about the changing values in America and the shifting balance of power in government.
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