Ashton Carter, President Obama's presumptive nominee for Secretary of Defense, is a textbook example of a good bureaucrat.

But according to homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem, that's exactly what the Pentagon needs.   

"He knows the department," Kayyem said. "The Pentagon can be brutal to new people who don't know how it works."

That was the problem, she said, with current Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who came to the post after over a decade in the Senate. Kayyem, who was a colleague of Carter's at the Harvard Kennedy School, said his ample experience working in the Pentagon—including in the top post of Deputy Secretary of Defense—would prepare him to effectively wrangle its massive bureaucracy.

"He can manage the bureaucracy, which is something I think Hagel isn't able to do," she said.

Carter previously oversaw equipment procurement and money, a background Kayyem said will help him navigate the Pentagon's shrinking budget while still addressing the nation's security needs.

"In some ways, calling him a 'good bureaucrat,' I mean that as a compliment," she said. "He will actually be able to run that department."

Kayyem also weighed in on the prospect of Ferguson police investigating Michael Brown's stepfather, Louis Head, for possibly inciting a riot with incendiary comments he made after the Grand Jury failed to indict officer Darren Wilson. Head has since apologized for the comments. 

"If you think the reason why the riots happened is because the stepfather said something that may have ignited people, you're living in La La Land. You learned nothing," Kayyem said.

"To go after him will simply ignite even worse," she said.

To hear more from homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem. tune in to the rest of her interview on Boston Public Radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan above.