succession

It’s Stupid to Think Sec. Gates Chose the Next Marines Chief Based on DADT, Right?

Replacing Gen. James Conway — who thinks repealing DADT will be “disruptive” — as the Marines Corps commandment this fall is Gen. James Amos, reportedly a surprise pick because Joint Forces Command’s Gen. James Mattis was expected to have the post on lock. But what’s this about Mattis, like his predecessor, opposing the repeal of DADT?

That Defense Sec. Robert Gates is expected to recommend Obama appoint Amos (pictured) over Mattis raises all sorts of eyebrows, WaPo notes, suggesting Gates’ zagging where others zig is more than meets the eye.

If nominated and confirmed, Gen. James F. Amos would be the first Marine commandant with a background as a jet pilot — at a time when the Corps is fighting a ground-dominated war in Afghanistan — and his selection reasserts Gates’s willingness to shake up established service bureaucracies.

Amos, who is the service’s assistant commandant, would also become the first Marine general promoted from that position to the Corps’ top job. He served in Iraq in the early days of that conflict, but he has not led troops in Afghanistan. He has relatively less experience in waging counterinsurgency warfare than other candidates considered for the job.

[…] In choosing Amos for commandant, Gates passed over Gen. James N. Mattis, who is widely considered one of the military’s best minds when it comes to waging war on insurgents.

It’s hard to believe a decision as crucial as choosing the next Marines commandment, who serves a four-year term, comes down to just the candidate’s position on DADT, particularly because Conway wasn’t the only military chief to criticize repeal efforts. But Gates, WaPo, notes, “has said that, in selecting the commandant, he wanted someone who would help the Marine Corps chart a course beyond the current wars.” Which is, of course, the post-DADT era.