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General James Amos, Marine Aviator, Tapped To Become Next Commandant Of The Marine Corps

06/15/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
General James Terry Conway is set to be replaced in the near future as Commandant of the Marines. His replacement is said to be General James F. Amos, the current Assistant Commandant of the Marines. The appointment of General Amos to the post of Commandant is a breaking of tradition in that, for the first time in the Marine Corps history, a Marine Aviator will hold that post. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended General Amos for the post, and his replacement will be Lieutenant General Joseph Dunford.

Sources have informed LezGetReal that General Amos’ position on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell mirrors that of Admiral Michael Mullen, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This means that General Amos believes that the study should be finished before the law is repealed, and the best way to move forward on repeal can be determined. General Amos is said to be more open to change than General Conway has been, or either General Dunford or General James Mattis, who were also considered for this job. Additionally, Generals Dunford and Mattis are said to be far less willing to consider a repeal of DADT and far closer to General Conway’s views on the issue of lesbians and gays serving openly.

Secretary Gates is said to have chosen General Amos because of his openness to the repeal of DADT, which Gates supports, as well as the cancellation of the EFV program which is well behind schedule and well over budget. Secretary Gates wants to cut a lot of deadwood programs from the military budget, including the EFV, which General Amos appears to be willing to do. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle or EFV is intended to be an amphibious assault vehicle and take an full squad of Marine rifles to shore from a great distance away. The EFV has several major mechanical problems which causes it to have repeated failures in a short amount of operation time. The Marines have dropped the initial order in almost half for the EFV’s, and Gates wants to terminate the project entirely.

General Amos was the commander of the 3rd Marine Air Wing, and he is a former F-4 Phantom pilot. Later, he switched to piloting the F/A-18 Hornet. Amos later led the Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, Va. He also served with NATO during operations regarding Kosovo and Serbia. General Amos is considered a fairly reserved man not known for the force of his personality. He may have been chosen for this reason as well since Mattis is known for being quite forceful and given to statements which can make Administration diplomacy more difficult. General Dunford is considered to be fairly young for the position and may have had trouble commanding the respect of the older generals.

General Mattis is stated to be quite pleased with the choice of Amos for Commandant. General Mattis was, until recently, in charge of the US Joint Forces Command; however, General Raymond Odierno, the current commander of the United States Forces, Iraq, has been nominated to replace him. Internally, this was seen as clearing the decks to allow General Mattis to take over as Commandant, but that appears to have changed.

What the appointment of General Amos means to the Marine Corps has yet to be fully assessed, but his appointment, if he is confirmed, should allow the repeal of DADT to go a little more smoothly given that General James Conway is vehemently opposed to repeal.

Robert Gates taps James Amos as commandant
Gen. James Amos, Marine aviator, in line to become next Corps commandant

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