Marine General Joseph Dunford has been confirmed as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the U.S. Senate.
The General is known for his recent comments, in which he called Russia the biggest threat to the United States. Dunford was the U.S. President Barack Obama’s selection for this responsible position.
As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the 59-year-old Dunford will replace Army General Martin E. Dempsey, who retires after having spent 41 years in military service. On October 1, Dempsey will finish his 2-year service of holding the most senior position in U.S. armed forces.
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Dunford attracted particular attention to himself during his recent appointment hearing to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he said that he views Russia as “an existential threat to the United States” and that he finds Russia’s recent actions “nothing short of alarming.”
Dunford was the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps since 2014, and before that he had been the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces-Afghanistan from February 2013 until August 2014.
He was a commander during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, where he earned the nickname ‘Fighting Joe’. Ever since then, Dunford made a successful career by going up in ranks from a brigadier general to a four-star general. His coworkers call him one the best commanders in the history of U.S. Marine Corps.
Meanwhile, Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva is likely to become the Vice Chairman. Just like his boss, Dunford, he considers Russia to be a top global threat.
It must be noted that the recently published U.S. national military strategy for 2015 names ISIS militants as the main threat. Russia is mentioned among four ‘revisionist’ states (China, Iran and North Korea), which are willing to apply force and escalate tensions.
U.S. needs a Chairman who wouldn’t ask too many questions
The Joint Chiefs of Staff plans and controls Armed Forces of the U.S. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is also the advisor of the President, Defense Minister and National Security Council. However, the chairman has no influence over the tactical command of troops in battle zones.
Will the replacement of a high-ranking military official of U.S. armed forces and the main advisor of the U.S. President have any impact on the relations between Russia and the U.S.?
It must be noted that U.S. Generals do not have much influence on the policy of the United States. However, the fact that Obama selected Dunford was not random.
Despite the widespread claim, Dunford is not the greatest commander of the U.S. Dunford is valuable to the President only because he views Russia from the right angle. Dunford believes that if the U.S. has an enemy, it must be destroyed, and the sooner America does it, the better.
This kind of view is supported by a large number of U.S. officials since U.S. Armed Forces is a major trump card in any ‘game’ of American politicians. That is exactly the reason why for this high-ranking position the U.S. needs a man who would not ask too many questions and would not be able to evaluate complex political moves. Besides, the U.S. needs a man whose attitude would be predictable and clear to the public.
Dunford’s statements about Russia were a test for U.S. society
That is the reason why the President selected Dunford to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he is an absolutely predictable figure, who acts predictably under different circumstances. Besides, the U.S. gave him an opportunity to express his views publicly.
It must also be noted that his expressed opinion about Russia being “an existential threat to the United States” was most likely a test for the U.S. society. This kind of ‘tests’ is not a rare occasion in the U.S.
Dunford showed the whole world how he would react to threats coming from Russia. The General would thus repeat his ‘reaction’ in case Russia takes its threats to a whole new level or if there is an explosive growth of escalation in the cold relations between Moscow and Washington. In this kind of scenario, the U.S. needs a person who would act instead of thinking.
Dempsey relied on reasonable decisions rather than risks
It must be noted that the previous chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, was not fond of Russia either. In his views about Russia, he was also considered the right person for the job. However, unlike the current chairman, Dempsey was a true strategist.
Dempsey established his career in U.S. Marine Corps, which is a special structure that answers directly to the President. Basically, it is the President’s personal 200,000 army that he can direct to any spot in the world without having to ask the Congress for its approval.
Since Dempsey worked with U.S. ground troops, he knows that any war is not just military operations and domination. Being a professional in what he does, Dempsey has a clear understanding that wars are won not only on battle fields, but also as a result of coherent actions between politicians, militaries and diplomats.
In that regard, Dempsey was inclined to make reasonable decisions and not rely on risks. He did not execute orders without putting thinking into them, he considered all advantages and disadvantages of every given order and, if needed, made corrections by coordinating with the President and Congress.
What will Dunford be like? Predictable and complying with any kind of orders? Might be. The time will show.