This is the move that justifies the decision to keep Robert Gates on at the Pentagon. Any new Defense Secretary, no matter how brilliant, would have had to have spent his first three months in office building relationships with the top military commanders and focusing on filling out the DOD civilian staff. Only a Secretary who’s already been in office could have the ability to propose sweeping change. But only a president who’s brand new could have the popularity and honeymoon effect necessary to have any hope of driving the changes through congress. Hence the appeal of the odd alignment of new president and old defense secretary.