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Pentagon Leadership Under Second Obama Term: With the presidential election over, attention amongst inside-the-beltway defense wonks already has turned toward the Pentagon. Specifically, they are speculating on who will replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during President Obama's second term. Both Obama and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to push hard to convince Panetta, the former CIA director, to put off his retirement and remain in Washington, D.C., so it's highly unlikely he will stick around for a second term, reported Foreign Policy's E-Ring blog. Former Pentagon policy chief Michele Flournoy appears to top the short list as does Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, according to the blog's Nov. 7 posting. "Sources close to the Administration tell the E-Ring some discussions are ongoing about Panetta's successor, but that it's still a little early in the game," states the posting. In addition to the top civilian spot, there are several deputy assistant secretary of defense positions, including for Asian and Pacific security affairs and for special operations/low intensity conflict, that remain in flux.