Schwartz, Stavridis Tops For Chairman

Schwartz, Stavridis Tops For Chairman

Marine Gen. Hoss Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is still on most lists, but he may have been tainted — rightly or wrongly –by the recent IG report which cleared Cartwright but also questioned his judgment.

That is the latest from the ever-active Pentagon rumor mill.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz’s name will not come as a surprise to Buzz readers since we broke the story of his being considered to replace Cartwright as vice chairman. We hear from one experienced Hill and Pentagon observer that Schwartz — or his surrogates — are pushing hard to secure the job for the Air Force. With Army Gen. Ray Odierno a likely pick for vice chairman, that would seem to argue for an Air Force leader as chairman. After all, the Air Force has not led the military since Gen. Richard Meyers in 2005, and he was the first since 1982.

Adm. James Stavridis, the top NATO commander and Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, may be the best fit for the Obama administration. A true polymath, Stavridis offers fine rhetorical skills, an impressive grasp of history and the important ability to discuss and dissect ideas and concepts. These qualities, consultant and analyst Loren Thompson points out, are  greatly valued by the administration’s leaders

Certainly no one who watches the Pentagon’s upcoming game of musical chairs will be surprised by Vice Chairman Hoss Cartwright’s name appearing on the list. He is. after all, the famously favorite general of the Obama White House. However, the idea of a general without recent combat experience might seem to raise questions about Cartwright’s chances. Of course, that assumes you don’t think that leading Strategic Command counts as a combat command.

But remember that the current chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, was picked largely for his leadership skills and strategic thinking. Of course, he was CNO before being named chairman, thus having a seat at the table in the Tank, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet to discuss classified issues. Mullen’s last operational command came in the first half of 2005, when he led NATO’s peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and its training mission in Iraq. Mullen and Cartwright share several traits, perhaps the most obvious being their strengths as strategic planners and thinkers. They can both answer a question in public without making a major mistake, although Cartwright boasts a clear lead in his skills as an orator.

On the other hand, Thompson notes that “the recent Inspector General investigation of Gen. Cartwright’s relationship with a female aide will hurt his prospects.  Although no physical relationship with the aide is alleged, there is an appearance issue.  General Joseph Ralston was sidelined in the competition for the top military job during the Clinton years due to a similar situation.”

Navy sources believe Stavridis looms large as the most accomplished and versatile of the candidates for chairman. Schwartz, who spent much of his career in special operations, does not boast the same fluency and political deftness that is very evident in dealing with Stavridis. How much the appearance of handing the top military job to another admiral will weigh against Stavridis is hard to to judge.

The Wall Street Journal issued a plaintive plea yesterday for Gen. David Patraeus to be named chairman but his name does not appear to be in play, which may explain the Journal’s piece. Petraeus, we hear, would love to retire after moving into Stavridis’ job.

One other element must be weighed here, and that is when will Defense Secretary Robert Gates depart and will he be the man or woman who recommends the next chairman. The best intel we’ve got (and it isn’t very good) on a Gates departure is summer. Mullen’s term of office expires in October.

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Per Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz’s

Please say I am not reading this correctly. Must be a slow day in the news department. He just hasn’t had the proper experience to be isn’t qualified for this job. The General was a transport pilot (which is OK ) but I would question his Special Operations experience. The last USAF CJCS was less than ????? to say the very least. One of the worst in history. Will take Gen Cartwright any day. He has the experience, demeanor and is a a true proven war fighter for this important position.

I also would like to see the names of these so called expert observer being quoted.

According to Gen Schwartz’s official bio, he served in numerous Special Operations commands (albeit mostly in a staff capacity).

Schwartz’s CV is a bit lighter than the other candidates’, but he is a smart guy, good leader and seemingly very decent individual. We could easily do worse.

Your right — my bad. And I have no personal distaste to the General — I would just like to see a direct war fighter in the mix. The USAF doesn’t give me that warmth. That connected with their bureaucratic nonsense is not good background — doesn’t tend to develop leadership qualities.. Those in the USAF Fighter Community loath the man because he is not “one of them” — unfortunate. I would like to see a little more foreign relations experience — used in a little less aggressive manner than the current CJCS who thinks he is Sec State. I guess i like the “Fleet Up” idea from DJCS to JCS.

No problem — I had to check myself, was curious to see what kind of billets he held down. I also found this interesting article that goes into more detail about his special operations background: http://​defensetech​.org/​2​0​0​8​/​0​6​/​1​3​/​s​c​h​w​a​r​t​z​-​a​-​c​hie.…

The most interesting thing in my mind is the fact that there isn’t a single soldier on the short-list, despite the fact that it has now been a full decade since an Army General served as CJCS.


I’d love to put down the names of those willing to speak to me, but then I’d never hear from them again! I can tell you that they know the principals involved quite well. Cartwright certainly impressed me (and almost everyone else who dealt with him from the Hill and building) when I covered him at StratCom during my tenure at Space News, but he will have to overcome the perception of a possible problem. In Washington that can be harder than winning a war.


Don’t forget that Gen. Odierno is considered a near lock for the vice chairman’s job. He’s as Army as they come!

Surprising that he would be the first Army General ever to serve as Vice-Chair (granted, the position has only been around since 1987, but still…)

we need to broaden the definition of warfighter. if you wear a uniform, you are a warfighter. Thus, we have got to stop disqualifying everyone for top leadership except for those on the pointy end of the spear. no wonder morale and retention are so poor unless you got the resume. no woner so many poor decisions are made as military officers pursue the assignments that are best for their resumes as opposed to concentrating on their current job. The Defense enterprise requires a wide variety of functions to succeed. It is quite obivious that the so called warfighters, pilots or trigger puller background, suck butt when it comes to resource allocation decisions, and developing systems. they end up becoming cheerleaders for whatever high tech pricey snake oil the contractor is currently selling.

I think it’s a mixed bag when it comes to whether combat experience makes a good CJCS. Making sure the military is properly resourced and that the civilian leadership take the professional advice of the uniformed military into account when making decisions are the most important things a Chairman can do. So whoever can do that most effectively is the man for the job, whether he be a ground-pounder, a ship-driver, or whatever else.

I really don’t care what color uniform the new CJCS wears — - or what his combat experience might be. I just want a person who has solid strategic thinking, understands the limitations of what we can do with our now-decimated military, and has both the guts and personality to deal effectively with the denizens who surround the CINC, and can give forceful unvarnished advice that will be heeded and not swept under the rug.

Editor: Thank you for your reply — I understand how Washington works. I think I would like to see a “fFleet Up” process for this office. Two years as DCJCS and the two years CJCS. Keep this office fresh.

For me — and I mean no disrespect to General Schwartz he has failed to correct the following issues even though he has addressed it in speech .….….….….but no action. None that is visable

Most of the respondents agree with your assessment but the one thing thing that has concerned me with the USAF is 1. Me too attitude and 2. The inability to get their officer grade relief under control and 3. Spending.

!. All the services to a degree, but the USAF in particular seem to want to jump into every other service’s mission. This mission creep is ridiculous and costs excessive amounts of money. CAS is one in particular. The Marines and the Army should have the mission. The USAF doesn’t want the mission but continues to buy equipment to do so thus taking money from applicable USMC/Army program. There are a number of other mission as well. Why do we need a legacy bomber taking money from more important programs. That is why we have cruse miles and new unmanned vehicles. Another program that works well is the integrated EA6B support. We are developing the Growler and now the USAF wants their own version in the F35. Total waste of money. There are more of this me too programs

2. Grade relief — The USAF has too get their officer corps rank structure under control. They seem to want to over rank everyone in everything they do and go to Congress for grade relief year after year. And yes it is happening at the Flag ranks in the other services. This has got to be fixed immediately even if people are demoted but retain their current pay. It prevails in the enlisted ranks as well.

3. Why in the world do we need do we need a new bomber, Why if you are so overmanned does the USAF continue to have contractor do your work — studies and support that you are manned to support. Just watch the 5 million dollar contracts every day. One could find “cut money” everywhere.

As per Gen Cartwright’s nonstarter behavior — there is a ton of other senior officers that better look over their own shoulder. Just makes one just shake one’s head. His ade’s mistake was not dismissing the young gal from the travel party.

Anyway thanks for your reply. It would be nice to have more discussion where people are civil.

Here’s my prediction: Admiral Stavridis, Chairman; General Odierno, Vice Chairman; General Petraeus, NATO

A MEN !!!!!!!!!!

I’m glad to see Gen Schwartz is on a short list. There are some worthy complaints being brought up here about the corporate USAF but to my mind they did not begin with Gen Schwartz. They have been years/decades in the making, thanks in large part to the ‘war fighting’ pilots. He has been trying to steer the Titanic so it aint going to happen over night.

Good comments to all and yes the issues started way before the Gen arrived. From what I hear he is a descent person who has at least tried to get corporate USAF under control. Easier said than done — but he just needs to be more “really really” forceful. What is a bit scary is will someone else share his vision or we just go back to the old ways of doing business. And it just isn’t the USAF. One can only hope he can still influence USAF decisions and a lot of these nonsense contractor / political / retired generals proposals. Someone needs to stand up and just say no and mean it.

At that level it’s ALL politics, so many of the comments I read about warfighting background seem superflous. It’s who Services, and SECDEF suggests,and who the POTUS picks.

I am surprised to see General Petraeus left out of the discussion as a candidate for CJCS. I don’t think there is anyone better qualified or with more experience than General Petraeus.

It’s unfortunately all about politics. If this White House can’t see General Petraeus as the most qualified to be CJCS, then they are either blind or dumb.

Ok, I can already tell you: Cartwright is next CJCS. John Allen gets fourth star, taking over for Petraeus in Afghanistan. Petraeus retires. Bank on it.

or more deserving than Petraeus. Specially when he had Afhganistan dumped on him… but since Cartwright is already in the Building at VCJCS it seems logical that he would have the best chance of winning the political battles DoD wants him to win. Recommend he get a sober male XO. Sends a nice message to the warfighters out there doesn’t it?? wow 2 of the last 3 CJCS will be USMC. only 1 of the last 9 was USAF. Myers must have screwed up everything.

I highly doubt a Marine will command Afghanistan even with the now larger number of Marines it is still mainly an Army fight, and will likely remain an Army command. There is no way Marine GOs will be the CJCS, commander of CENTCOM, and commander on the ground in Afghanistan.

I doubt a Marine will be the CJCS mainly because General Pace was the CJCS just a few years ago.

If Cartwright loses this promotion it will be a tremendous disservice to a smart, educated, capable and deserving Marine. But, that’s Washington and these promotions are political appointments and not necessarily based on merit.

Believe what you like…The handle “In the Know” means just that… Never know if Congress will refuse to confirm, and I thought for sure, until I became “In the Know” that Petraeus was a sure thing for CJCS… Odierno for Vice is logical… But I don’t know.… Schwartz was the name tossed around this fall… But I don’t know who becomes Vice.

And anyway, color of the uniform increasingly means less and less at the CJCS, VCJCS, and Cocoms… Only matters for service chiefs…

As all have stated — it is all poltics !!!!!

Myers had his issues for sure. Pace was ineffective. Petraeus as I have read is not one of POTUS favorites for what ever reason (per Woodward). As “In the Know” stated Cartwright is well liked and respected by POTUS for his straightforward and intelligent views. In fact is liked better than CJCS who is well — enough unsaid. John Allen is the logical and right choice.

It would be cool to have Marines at all three important position. Hpe it happens!!! Meanwhile until the Army gets a modern post WWII leadership package ( per Robert Gates ) it is not in the running. Spurs and cowboy hats are OBE fellows.

Speaking of the When will we get what for the next CJCS, when will a Woman be at the Joint Chief of Staff level. I am not saying Chairman. You have Woman Fighter, Bomber and Ship Drivers. How close are we to putting one at the table not behind it as a Staffer.

I think the next CJCS should design a Purpled Hue Joint uniform for position and all of the JCS taking best elements of each of the services Uniforms. With that in mind Gen. Schwartz would be an excellent choice, with the number of uniform changes recently proposed by the Air Force. While they are at war and struggling with their acquisitions.

As a fighter pilot maybe he is the best one to fight for the F-35. That’s probably how the CMIC thinks. Petraeus probably too focused on fighting wars, COIN, soft power, and making the world a better place. Heaven forbid we have a CJCS that was an expert in those areas.

Having worked under Stavridis when he was a Battle Group Commander, I can honestly say he is one of the most intelligent leaders I have ever seen. He would be without a doubt be one of the best CJCS to ever serve. His understanding of both military and political objectives, combined with his vast knowledge of military strategies make him the perfect candidate for CJCS.

May the best man win!

You are dead-on. That’s exactly what we need.

Fire Admiral Mullins, and Gen. Norton Schwartz’s NOW!!! They are both a National Disaster, leading the DOD to the Brink!!!! They have made bad decisions they continue to be a poster child for Corruption, Stupidity and inept rational. The Only Admiral or General Left that has credibility, integrity and unlimited leadership ability and can fill a true Senior Leadership, in the DOD at the Joint Level is Admiral Donald Gaddis. This Man can make a difference.

Schwartz, Stavridis, Cartwright are all corrupt, Stupid and inept. These dummies need to be sent to pasture as soon as possible. Gen. David Patraeus or Adm. Donald Gaddis are the only two individuals that have the leadership qualities to make a difference at the Joint Level.


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