Petraeus: From dress greens to Brooks Brothers


Vice President Joseph Biden (R) swears in David Petraeus (C) as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, while his wife Holly Petraeus holds a Bible in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on September 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. General Petraeus retired from the U.S. Army last week and has now become the 20th director of the CIA.


Mark Wilson

Four stars filled out the lapels of his military uniform, but the question now is how does a business suit fit David Petraeus?

In his first professional day out of uniform in nearly four decades, Petraeus was set to show up for work in civilian clothes at CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia after a swearing-in ceremony.

Petraeus reportedly wore a gray suit as he took the oath of office at a White House ceremony led by Vice President Joe Biden.

President Obama drafted Petraeus to take the helm of the CIA as part of a major reorganization of his national security team. That shift included Leon Panetta moving from CIA chief to defense secretary to replace the retiring Robert Gates.

At a retirement ceremony last week marking 37 years of military service and a host of crucial command posts, Petraeus, 58, warned against cutting America’s military capabilities to ease Washington’s budget shortfall. Right now the Pentagon has in its sights a thinning down of $350 billion to the military budget over the next decade.

As CIA Director, Petraeus will be leaving that budget battle royale behind and focusing on what appears to be a shift in the fight against terrorism on the ten-year anniversary of what has become known as “The Long War.”

Petraeus has in recent weeks been undergoing a host of briefings from high-level CIA officials and former directors of the agency to get his bearings in a new culture and a new mission. Those in the military and intelligence community who know Petraeus well say the transition will not be easy. He arrives at Langley amid concerns over a perception of “militarization” of the CIA.

And as Reuters reported, Petraeus has been offering assurances that he understands those concerns. In confirmation hearings, Petraeus said, “I have no plans to bring my military brain trust with me to the agency.”

GlobalPost interviewed Petraeus earlier this year as part of a Special Report titled “The Last Fighting Season” just as the transition was underway for him to leave his command in Afghanistan and take over at the CIA.