Senators will soon be evaluating the President’s nominees to replace James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General Joseph Dunford as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They will have no shortage of material from which to draw tough questions for each new nominee, but they may want to add relations between the two top staffs at the Pentagon to the list. In its recent report, the National Defense Strategy Commission raised concerns over the relationship between the civilians of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military officers under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Those of us who served with him know that he is a caring, erudite, warfighting general. And we know that there is a reason he uses the callsign Chaos: he is a lifelong student of his profession, a devotee of maneuver warfare and Sun Tzu, the sort of guy who wants to win without fighting—to cause chaos among those he would oppose. To Marines, he is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is. Our friends and allies will be happy he is our new Secretary of War; our enemies will soon wish he weren’t. I worked for General James Mattis three times: when he was a Colonel, a Major General, and a Lieutenant General.
The decision to stop production of arguably the world’s greatest flying machine elicits impassioned opinions on both sides of the argument. Raptor supporters argue that the Air Force is significantly weaker than it should be because of the limited number of F-22s, while supporters of Secretary Gates’ decision argue the cancellation of the line allowed the investment of billions of dollars in equipment that saved countless lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.