Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Next JCS Chairman

In yesterday's WashPost, David Ignatius had an interesting column forecasting who might be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He believes current the current vice chairman, Marine Gen. Peter Pace is first in line when Air Force Gen. Richard Meyers' term ends this summer.

However, Tom Barnett, ever in the know in Pentagon circles, offers this insight:

"Not that I'd ever say anything bad about David Ignatius, but my sense of the dynamics in the Pentagon is not that a new Chairman needs to be able to stand up to Rumsfeld, but that Rumsfeld finally needs to get his own chairman.

"According to people I speak with, Ignatius is right about Pace (current Vice, USMC Gen.) and Giambastiani (JFCOM boss and USN Adm) being the front runners. Most likely scenarios are: 1) Pace moves up for 2 years, with G. as his Vice, then G. takes over for his four-year stint, or 2) G. goes straight to Chair and Pace remains his Vice for two more years. Many think Pace is in slight lead, but others tell me the service clock on Giambastiani's career means he either goes this summer to Chief or not at all. Something about his being trapped by 35-year-mark in Vice's job (a technicality that apparently doesn't apply in same way to Chief's spot). I'm not too clear on such details, but my guess is that Adm. G. is the man. He was Rumsfeld's mil aide and then the guy he trusted with Transformation's main command. I think this one's in the bank, and such an outcome would be good for the Pentagon and DoD as a whole, methinks."

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