Ex-Obama Adviser Urges Biden to Fire National Security Chief After Afghanistan 'Disaster'

Brett Bruen, a former adviser in Barack Obama's White House, urged President Joe Biden to fire U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in an opinion piece published Monday by USA Today.

Bruen argued that Sullivan should leave office after choices made regarding Afghanistan "sadly led to the most unnecessarily embarrassing day in the history of the National Security Council."

After seizing multiple provincial capitals in a rapid fashion, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul this weekend following the government's fall. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as insurgents closed in, later stating on Facebook that he left to avoid further bloodshed in the capital.

Bruen, who served as director of global engagement under then-President Obama, cited the dire situation in Afghanistan as the principal reason why Biden needed to make a change with this national security team. He added that the "disaster that unfolded in Afghanistan is illustrative of other major issues at the White House. The people, plans and processes the president has put in place to keep America safe are not working."

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Former Obama adviser Brett Bruen said President Joe Biden should fire National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in an op-ed published Monday. In this photo, Sullivan speaks during a press briefing on February 4, 2021, at the White House. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

The team Biden chose is responsible for these failures, Bruen claimed. He specifically focused on Sullivan, who he said has two jobs as the national security adviser.

"As the name suggests, they are the last and ideally closest counselor to the president in the Situation Room," Bruen said of the position's first major role. "Their second duty is to translate the commander in chief's decisions and direction into practical policies."

"On all of these scores the current occupant of the office appears to have failed," Bruen said of Sullivan.

Sullivan previously served as a deputy assistant to Obama during his administration and Biden's national security adviser when Biden was vice president. He was also deputy chief of state to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Bruen and Sullivan have worked together. While noting that Sullivan is "extraordinarily bright" and knowledgable of foreign policy theories, Bruen claimed the national security adviser's "overseas experience is less robust." This, Bruen said, "can lead to the disconnect between ideas and implementation."

Another source of the problems in Biden's White House, Bruen argued, is the general manner in which personnel was chosen by the administration. Biden "opted to pack political types into the most influential positions," which Bruen believes has caused issues with relations to various countries.

As for Afghanistan, Bruen wrote the Afghan government was ill-prepared for the U.S. to pull out of the country, even if Biden seemed intent do so before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Though Biden wanted to bring U.S. troops home, Bruen contends that it was Sullivan's responsibility to "figure out how to achieve the president's goal while ensuring we avoided potential pitfalls and problems. That's clearly not what happened."

Bruen wrote that it was up to Sullivan to identify the potential risks involved with pulling out at this time and find a better path to reaching Biden's objective while safeguarding the people in Afghanistan.

Now, Bruen claims, Biden is left with no choice but "to fire his national security adviser and several other senior leaders who oversaw the botched execution of our withdrawal from Afghanistan."