Coats up to task of protecting Hoosiers

(Fort Wayne) News-Sentinel

President Trump has no government experience, and he has an impulsive, reactive nature. Fortunately, he is smart, too, so he recognizes that those two facts will limit his effectiveness as chief executive. That’s why one of his best moves so far was to surround himself with Cabinet heads and other administration personnel who have both deep experience and steady, deliberative natures.

Including two of Indiana’s finest.

The influence of Vice President and former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence already has been evident and widely noted. Now Dan Coats joins the team as director of national intelligence after what was possibly the shortest retirement in U.S. Senate history.

Coats has a wealth of Washington experience, as a representative, senator and lobbyist. His years on the Senate Intelligence Committee have given him vast knowledge of and keen insight into the nature of the threats facing America. It is a sign of the respect he has earned that in a bitterly partisan Washington, he handily won confirmation with an 85-12 vote.

As the nation’s top intelligence official, Coats will oversee and coordinate the efforts of all 17 of our intelligence agencies, from the CIA and FBI to the National Security Agency and the military’s intelligence operations.

Coats’ task will be formidable. The DNI position was created in the wake of 9/11, and so far, only four other people have held it. It’s not as if there is a well-established blueprint of how to do the job.

His first task will be to earn the respect of the intelligence community and try to restore its reputation, which has not been exactly sterling of late. And he must try to keep politics out of all the agencies he oversees. At times, that will surely mean butting heads with the president.

Above all, no matter how many balls he will be juggling, he must stay focused on keeping this nation safe. When it comes to national security, the buck stops with him. We have every confidence he is up to the task, and all Hoosiers should take great pride that people like Coats and Pence have been called to the nation’s service.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to