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Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 11:40am

Marshall Won't Advocate On Defense Panel

Former Georgia congressman Jim Marshall said he’s honored by his appointment to a Pentagon review panel, but military communities can’t necessarily count on him to be their advocate.

Marshall's appointment to the 8-member National Defense Panel was made public Monday. The congressionally-mandated body is part of the Quadrennial Defense Review process, a regular reexamination of the Pentagon’s strategic objectives.

The process leading up to 2014’s report is under extra scrutiny, as the Pentagon grapples with sequestration cuts and the White House pushes for the consideration of base closures.

Marshall, a former mayor of Macon, was a staunch advocate for nearby Robins Air Force Base while in the U.S. House. But he can’t continue that advocacy in this position, he said. "I am charged with the responsibility of trying to impartially give advice to Congress and to the Secretary of Defense."

"We certainly will not get down to the more granular level of specific bases," Marshall added. "[The review] is at a very macro level...the overall posture of the United States, is it appropriate, will it meet the threats, how should it be adjusted?"

Nonetheless, Marshall said he expects the general question of base closures will come up.

Since losing reelection in 2010, Marshall has been serving as president of the United States Institute for Peace, a federal agency that works to prevent violent conflict around the world.