While Defense Secretary Robert Gates said as much last month, the Pentagon today sent out the official statement announcing the president's nomination of Marine Corps Gen. James Amos to become the service's next commandant.
As Inside the Navy reported in June:
The alleged selection of Gen. James Amos as the next commandant of the Marine Corps surprised many and has been called an unorthodox pick by some news outlets, but analysts are hesitant to draw conclusions based on Amos' background as an aviator or the fact that Gen. James Mattis and Lt. Gen. Joe Dunford -- the picks that inside sources had been favoring -- were not selected. . . .
Amos would be the first aviator to become commandant, which may seem to make him a counterintuitive pick based on Gates' previous statements that the Defense Department needs to focus more on the wars it is currently fighting, both of which have been primarily ground wars.
"I have a hard time with the idea that we should make too much of this sort of thing," said Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst at the Brookings Institution. "I remember when Jim Jones was the first Marine to ever run NATO and a lot of people saw that as a big step . . . people said that signifies a big shift and that's a big historic change, and frankly I think we got too caught up in that kind of rhetoric."