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Surprise Pick For Commandant


The Marines are not getting one of the Pentagon's visionary and blunt-spoken leaders as commandant. Instead, the Corps will be led by Gen. James Amos, an aviator currently serving as assistant commandant. His nomination would mark a break with Marine tradition since he may be the first career aviator named commandant and the first assistant named to the top post in many years.

The race had been seen by well-informed observers as one between Gen.  James Mattis, head of Joint Forces Command, the visionary, and Lt. Gen. Joe Dunford, commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Loren Thompson, defense consultant and analyst with the Lexington Institute, said he believed that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus "resisted naming General Mattis." While the exact reason isn't known, Mattis is famously direct and willing to step outside the conventional wisdom when he believes it necessary. Mabus may have found that a worrying trait in a commandant. even though Defense Secretary Robert Gates is known to have high regard for the general.

Thompson noted that Amos is a former F/A-18 pilot and a V-22 supporter, "so I would read his promotion as good news for Boeing. While he will not visibly favor aviation over other warfighting specialties, he will bring an acute understanding of aviation issues to the Commandant's office, which has to be good news for Boeing, Textron and Sikorsky -- the leading rotorcraft suppliers to the Corps. Lockheed Martin may also benefit in keeping the F-35 vertical-takeoff variant on track."

Readers who know Amos are encouraged to let us know more about him. No fingerprints.

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