- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Army gets geographical command, at last
Question of the Day
The Army stepped to the fore last month, winning one of the armed forces’ most coveted commands after having seen Marine Corps generals selected in recent years to head operations in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Europe.
The Pentagon announced that Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Army vice chief of staff and the last commander in Iraq, would take over U.S. Central Command — a pivotal post, given the unrest in Egypt and the possibility of war in Iran. After Senate confirmation, he will succeed Marine Gen. James N. Mattis.
“Lloyd Austin has strategic vision and significant operational savvy, which will be extremely helpful in dealing with Iran and the rise of radical Islam in the Middle East,” retired Army Gen. Jack Keane said.
The inside politics of winning what is called a geographic combatant command is downplayed publicly by the Pentagon.
But for the military branches, such an assignment is an important prize. There is the prestige of commanding combat troops, ships and planes, with a direct chain of command to the defense secretary.
It also gives each general a seat at the table when discussing budget priorities and more face-time with the lawmakers who control Pentagon spending and policies.
Leader of the pack
The Marine Corps may be the smallest military branch, but in recent years it has scored big in the competition and broken new ground.
This year, Marine generals owned the top command assignments for the Middle East and Afghanistan, and were tapped to head forces in Europe and the southern hemisphere, leaving the Army leadership a bit chagrined.
A Marine never had headed European Command and NATO forces until 2003. Now, a second, Gen. John R. Allen, the current Afghanistan commander, is in line. His posting is dependent on an inspector general inquiry into his email exchanges with a married socialite in Tampa, Fla., home to U.S. Central Command, where Gen. Allen had served.
“These leadership decisions are emblematic of the Marine Corps‘ effectiveness and high-level contributions to global military operations over the last decade,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, who served as a Marine officer in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Marines were a force in Iraq, and they have been equally effective in Afghanistan. These results are possible because of the strong leadership and tactical know-how that is a reliable Marine Corps characteristic.”
Ask why Marines have been winning the plum posts, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney observed, “They are better at politics.”
Retired Gen. James T. Conway, a former Marine commandant, chalks up the good showing to the Corps’ “institutional excellence.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Elusive target: U.S. believed Iraq terror mastermind al-Baghdadi killed 3 times
- Air Force command nominee is 1st woman, non-pilot
- Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formerly a U.S. captive
- Islamic militants aim to take Baghdad airport
- ISIL shows increasing strength and structure, takes war where al Qaeda couldn't
TWT Video Picks
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq