So the rumors were true. Moments ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates officially announced that Marine Gen. James Amos, the assistant commandant, will replace the retiring Gen. James Conway as the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Amos is the first aviator to lead the corps, and was a leading figure behind the 2006 revision of the Army/Marine Corps counterinsurgency field manual.
Another of those leading figures, Gen. James Mattis of the Joint Forces Command, once thought to be the leading candidate to replace Conway, will apparently retire. Gates nodded to his prospective candidacy by saying he “considered several outstanding candidates.”
The full statement from Gates:
“I am pleased to announce that I have recommended to the President that Gen. James F. Amos be nominated as the next commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Gen. Amos’ combat experience includes command of a Marine aircraft wing and a Marine expeditionary force during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to lead the Marines’ Combat Development Command and serve as deputy commandant for combat development and integration. If nominated and confirmed, Gen. Amos will be the first aviator to attain this post.
“I am also recommending that Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford be promoted to replace Gen. Amos as assistant commandant. Lt. Gen. Dunford is currently the commander of I MEF and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, with responsibility for all Marines serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters.
“Gen. James Conway will complete his term as commandant this fall and retire from the Marine Corps after four decades of outstanding service. On behalf of the American people, I want to thank Gen. Conway for his faithful and selfless service that included tours as a battalion commander in Operation Desert Storm, a Marine expeditionary force commander in Iraq, and director of operations for the Joint Staff. We will properly recognize Gen. Conway’s extraordinary service at an appropriate time.
“I came to these leadership decisions after a thorough process that considered several outstanding candidates. I am convinced that Gen. Amos and Lt. Gen. Dunford are the right team to lead the U.S. Marine Corps at this time, especially as it balances the capabilities needed to support current operations, its unique maritime heritage and its future role defending America.”