Finally, for those critics who believe the experience garnered by a senior general during a career of ever-increasing responsibility and complexity is “narrow” compared to those who labor in the private sector or academia, I’d suggest any analysis shows something quite different, because what a senior general officer does may be surprising to critics who are not steeped in military organizations.
For example, I know from more than three decades in the military that Austin executed a mix of conventional and unconventional operations, supported a staggering supply chain of equipment, coordinated and developed a foreign nation’s police and security forces, and worked closely with the US ambassador and State Department in mentoring a prime minister, President, members of parliament during his time as a four star theater commander in Iraq.
In the Pentagon, Austin’s job was to both support the Chairman of the Joint Staff and the uniformed services, as well as the secretary of defense and the President of the United States. His role also entailed the execution of a budget of nearly $700 billion dollars, the oversight of contingency planning and operations, as well as the ongoing transformation of the military.
Finally, as the combatant commander of Central Command, he simultaneously executed the draw-down in Iraq, the surge in Afghanistan, missions in Syria, Egypt, Somalia and Yemen, and served as the uniformed representative — partnering with US ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps — to 20 countries in the Middle East.