Once one of most influential military officers in the world, General David Petraeus saw his authority swiftly deteriorate in November when he resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer.
On a list of the 100 most influential people in U.S. defense out Monday, Petraeus ranks last.
Editors at Defense News and Military Times, which published the list, say Petraeus was originally in the top five. The news of his resignation sent the editors of the inaugural list scrambling.
"Does retired Gen. David Petraeus, for years considered America's most powerful general, belong at the very bottom of the list? Or is he no longer a player at all?" Defense News asks on its web site Monday, though noting that "Few expect [Petraeus] to stay underground for long." While Petraeus's future is unclear, a number of possibilities have already been suggested for the five-star general. The Washington Business Journal recently reportedly that he'd find a soft landing in the corporate defense world. Forbes mused about a potential future in politics. And USA Today said that without further mistakes it was likely Petraeus would continue to serve the country in some capacity.
With Petraeus knocked out of the list's top five, Obama administration national security adviser Thomas Donilon is, not surprisingly, ranked as the most influential person in U.S. defense. Donilon is trailed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers.
The biggest surprise on the list may be Bradley Manning, the Army private charged with leaking reams of classified material to Wikileaks and the object of much scorn in the Washington military establishment. Manning comes in at No. 60, but ranks above big defense players such as former CIA director Michael Hayden and Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush.