Green Room

Gen. James Amos to be the next Commandant?

posted at 3:10 pm on June 15, 2010 by

Cross-posted from Hard Corps Wife:

I’ve signed up to be a Family Readiness Volunteer with my husband’s unit, and part of the requirements for this are taking certain classes. LINKS is one of them. I took the class last Saturday, and it went over basic Marine Corps info that any USMC wife should know, even without taking a class. I felt like I wasted an entire day, because I already know what duty is, what chevrons are, and what an LES looks like. I know what PCSing is and what all of the enlisted ranks are. I know that the scarlet stripe in the dress blues is not just a red stripe, but that it symbolizes the blood spilled in a specific battle (bonus points for anyone who can name that battle in the comment section). I know who the Commandant is and I can name you off a list of famous and influential Marines. Sadly, this is not the case with most wives. I feel that it is part of my duty as a Marine’s wife to know as much as I can about the Corps. It is my job as well as his to fully immerse myself in knowledge so as to better serve my husband, my country, and the Corps. Not all wives feel this way, I guess, but bless those women who go to these classes completely ignorant of all basic USMC knowledge. They’re trying to learn, which is all that matters.

When asked who the current commandant of the Marine Corps is, I was the only one who knew. (It’s Gen. James T. Conway.) I find it kind of important to know who the commandant is. Not all wives do, I guess.

With that little rant over and done with, I saw the news today that it is looking like Gen. Conway’s replacement has been selected. It seems that Gen. James Amos will be the next commandant of the Marine Corps. He will be the 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, and the first Marine jet aviator to be named commandant.

Gen. James Amos is expected to be named the 35th commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, sources told Defense News on Monday. If nominated, Amos could become the first Marine jet aviator named to the top post, and he would alter recent custom by becoming the first assistant commandant in several decades to succeed his immediate boss.

A source confirmed that the White House has received the nomination from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who made the choice with the blessing of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. An announcement of the nomination will come from the White House, and could come as soon as this Thursday, the day the executive branch habitually releases personnel statements.

Speculation has been building about the successor to Gen. James Conway, who retires in September. In addition to Amos, other leading candidates were thought to be: Lt. Gen. Joe Dunford, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force and commander of Marine forces in U.S. Central Command; Lt. Gen. John Allen, deputy commander of Central Command; Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of Marine Corps Forces Command; and Gen. James Mattis, commander of Joint Forces Command.

Some sources are pointing to Dunford as the nominee for assistant commandant, but that move has not been confirmed.

Amos commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing from 2002 to 2004 during Operating Iraqi Freedom and subsequently led II MEF. He also commanded the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and served as the deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration. He has been assistant commandant since July 2008.

There are some reservations about Gen. Amos. His background as a jet pilot is under scrutiny, considering we are fighting a ground war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has led troops in Iraq, but not in Afghanistan. And he has less experience in counterinsurgency than some other candidates. This is in sharp contrast to Gen. James Mattis, considered by many to be brilliant when it comes to counterinsurgency. Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr, expected to be nominated as assistant commandant, is an infantry officer. Personally, I would think that Lt. Gen. Dunford or Gen. Mattis would be the best for the job, but I’m sure that Gen. Amos is capable. Gen. Conway has done a great job as commandant — his overhaul of the awful KV network into the wonderful new Family Readiness Program was fantastic for the families of Marines — and so Gen. Amos has big shoes to fill. Gen. Conway also opposes repealing DADT. Gen. Amos’ position on DADT is currently unclear. There are rumors that Gen. Amos has been chosen by Defense Secretary Gates solely because of his position on DADT, and I certainly hope that isn’t the case. The Marine Corps needs a commandant chosen for his military leadership, not for where he stands on political issues. If — and that’s a big IF — this is true, then shame on Secretary Gates.

Gen. Mattis, meanwhile, is pleased with the selection.

Mattis said via e-mail to Politico he “could not be more pleased” that his “shipmate and friend” would lead the corps.

“By all means quote me: Tamer Amos and Fighting Joe Dunford will be the best possible team,” Mattis said, using nicknames for the two officers.

Defense Secretary Gates has apparently been looking for someone to return to the Corps’ sea-service traditions of amphibious assault, and Gen. Amos supposedly has innovative new ideas on how to take the Corps into the future of amphibious warfare. It certainly looks like the next commandant has been chosen. I wish him good luck — and hope that he was chosen for the right reasons and not for stupid little political games.

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Comments

The Blood stripe signifies the blood spilled at the Battle of Chapultepec in Mexico City. From the Halls of Montezuma…

RPL on June 15, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Dang, beat me to it RPL.

Wore the blood stripe with pride years ago myself.

Here’s hoping and praying the correct (not political) choice was made.

Interesting that they are looking for someone to beef up the Marine’s amphibious assault capabilities. Thinking ahead for once ?

Duncan Khuver on June 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I attended school at Virginia Tech with Lt. General Joesph Dunford Jr’s son, Joe Dunford III.

It was a heck of a surprise to read War Stories with Oliver North & then ask Joe about it and find out that it was his DAD!

Also having personally met Lt. Gen Dunford I can say he is a hell of a guy. Just the kind of man I’d follow damn near anywhere.

But that’s just me.

SgtSVJones on June 15, 2010 at 4:52 PM

I don’t know about those reservations regarding where he’s served.

You’ve got to be ready to fight the next war and not the last one.

livefreerdie on June 16, 2010 at 9:46 AM

I distinctly remember a Pentagon Tour Guide referring to the Blood Stripe as ‘NCO Red Stripe’. A female Marine sergeant pulled the hapless guide to the side and told him:

“It’s a Blood Stripe you idiot! Every part of a Marine’s uniform has significance. Learn it!”

SeniorD on June 16, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Not happy with this pick.

First, this is the first time in the history of the Marine Corps that the Commandant with not be a ground officer. Recently it has always been the CMC is a ground officer and the ACMC is a pilot. The focus of the Marine Corps has always been on its ground troops and having the CMC always be one is very important.

Second, this is a none of the above pick for the White House. Mattis is probably the greatest general of this generation. They already by passed him for EUCOM. Now they are by passing him again. Clearly they don’t his views are not aligned with theirs, so he is done. This is a shame. Dunford or Allen also would have been good picks. They have a lot of combat experience and have done fantastic where ever they have been.

While no one doubts Amos’ abilities, he does not stack up to the other candidates. He has never lead Marines into battle on the ground and thus lacks the credibility with the ground troops that almost ever CMC has had. While this is not his fault, it is an issue.

Punky on June 16, 2010 at 6:09 PM