I have worked with Gen Amos in the past. He is a true professional.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended that Gen. James
Amos will be the next commandant of the Marine Corps, POLITICO has learned. Lt.
Gen. Joseph Dunford has been recommended to be assistant commandant. (hat tip Politico 44/Seamus etc etc)
President Obama has not yet nominated either individual,
according to defense sources, but the recommendations were recently sent to the
Amos, already the Corps’ No. 2 officer, would be the
first aviator to lead the service. The selection of Amos is a huge upset since
the choice was thought to be between two known infantry officers: Dunford, and
Gen. James Mattis. Both men had long been considered frontrunners and brought
to the job different reputations and backgrounds at a time when the Corps
endeavors to re-establish its sea-service identity after more than eight years
of fighting wars in largely landlocked regions.
Gates was expected to want a leader who would help focus that
effort. But the deliberations over who would lead the Corps also included
discussions on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly as
well as well as the future of the Corps’ favorite ground combat vehicle,
the General Dynamics-made Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, say officials in and
outside of the Pentagon.
Also under consideration for the Corps’ top job was Lt.
Gen. John Allen, now the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Defense News
reported that Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski was under consideration but a source
close to the process said he was not.
Amos will be seen as a strange choice for the Corps as it
fights two land campaigns. One retired senior officer said Amos would probably
make a good leader of the service even as he expressed reservations about his
background as an aviator.
“He’ll do fine, he’ll have a good team
surrounding him and he won’t go off the edge any which way or the
other,” the retired officer told POLITICO.
But during a period of intense ground operations for the
Corps, the retired officer wondered why the Obama White House would choose a
Marine officer with no ground combat experience.
“The Marine Corps as an institution doesn’t owe
anyone anything,” the retired officer said. “But should there be more
consideration to a ground guy when you’re in the middle of a couple of
ground wars? I think you might want to do that.”
But Mattis said he “could not be more pleased”
that his “shipmate and friend” would lead the Corps in an e-mail to
“By all means quote me: Tamer Amos and Fighting Joe
Dunford will be the best possible team,” said Mattis, using nicknames for
the two officers.
Typically, the Corps’ second officer, known as the
assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, is an aviator who never rises to the
top job. But the choice of Amos, considered a reserved senior officer not known
for the force of his personality, may be the result of a combination of
factors. Those likely include his thinking on how and if gays and lesbians
should serve openly in the Marine Corps, as well as potentially being open to
cancelling the EFV, a multibillion-dollar program that is behind schedule and
over budget. Gates appears to have the vehicle in his budgetary cross-hairs.
Other members of the Pentagon leadership have questioned the
Corps’ wisdom in pursuing the program when the writing appears to be on
the wall that Gates wants to start in a new direction even as many Corps
leaders cling to the platform. Likewise, the Corps’ stable of senior
officers may believe that repealing 'don’t ask, don’t tell' is not
a wise thing to do at this time, taking a cue from the current commandant, Gen.
James Conway, who has been an outspoken opponent of repeal.