New President Barack Obama’s nominees are expecting

Pan.bg 14 май 2015 | 11:04 views (2436) commentaries(0)
img Colonel Valentin Tzvetanov (ret), „NATO & Bulgaria” Magazine
As the Foreign Policy Magazine informed yesterday, they were expecting a pretty big day at the Pentagon. The Defense Secretary Ash Carter was expected to announce President Barack Obama’s nominees to be the next Chief of Staff of the Army and Chief of Naval Operations.
Word is that Adm. John Richardson, head of the Navy's nuclear program, is getting the nod to lead the sea service. Richardson would be the second submariner in a row to run the Navy, following in the wake of current boss Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who also spent much of his career serving on submarines.
The nuke billet that Richardson currently fills lies at the heart of the Navy’s modernization plans, and his confirmation would give the service an experienced voice up top to sell the Ohio submarine replacement program, which is slated eat up the Navy’s shipbuilding budget in the 2020s. At a cost about $4.9 billion apiece and at a building rate of one sub per year starting in 2021 for 12 years, it’s something that needs to get fixed right away.
In a recent conversation with FP, Robert Hale, former Defense Department comptroller, said that the sub fight will be key for the next Navy chief. Hale, currently a fellow at Booz Allen, said that all of the services face a “bow wave” of budgetary pressures arising from modernization programs and reset activities early in the next decade, but the sub program will need to be straightened out soonest.
Pounding ground. The Army job is a surprisingly wide open, with a number of top officers in the running who boast years of combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with pretty substantial Beltway chops. At the top of the list comes Gen. David Perkins, the highly-regarded head of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which gives him the service’s top perch for developing doctrine and force structure plans for the future. Perkins also has a hell of a back story. As a colonel in 2003, he took a big risk and led the now-infamous “Thunder Run” in Iraq, punching American armored columns of only a few hundred soldiers straight into the heart of Baghdad, capturing several government buildings.

Then there's the current head of the war in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, who also served as the vice chief under Odierno until heading to Kabul late last year. Campbell generally has a good reputation among the press for being willing to talk, even hosting an informal roundtable with journos in his Pentagon office days before leaving for Kabul to talk about whatever was on their minds.
Gen. Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Central Command chief whose purview includes the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, is also considered a solid pick. The highly press-adverse Austin was the last U.S. commander in Iraq, and also was briefly the vice chief of the Army under Odierno until March 2013.
Several other officers have been mentioned by Defense officials in conversations over the past several months. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who commands U.S. forces in Korea, and Gen. Vincent Brooks, who oversees Army forces in the Pacific, would each bring experience with allies in Asia; Gen. Dan Allyn, the current vice chief of the Army.
There’s also, of course, the dark horse candidate Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who rose from being the controversial and innovative ground commander in Iraq who was blocked from pinning on his first general’s star until then-Gen. David Petraeus stepped in, to now being the three-star head of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, essentially making him the service’s resident futurist. But tapping a sitting three-star to become chief would be a highly, highly unusual move, and bets also are ongoing that he'll be picked as Carter's senior military assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
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