Marine Corps' Mattis nominated to lead JFCOM


President Bush has nominated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Mattis to be promoted to the rank of general and commander of Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., the Defense Department announced today.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mattis, who is highly regarded in the military for his operational experience, would replace Air Force Gen. Lance Smith in November. Smith held the top JFCOM post since November 2005. He plans to retire in January 2008, DOD announced late last month.

In his post as JFCOM commander, Mattis would also be NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. Mattis currently serves as commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force and commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command.

Joint Forces Command is in charge of developing new military concepts capable of giving U.S. forces an edge in future conflicts. The command also plays a key role in assigning conventional forces to hot spots around the world.

Tammy Schultz, a military expert at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said Mattis’ nomination is “nothing but good news for JFCOM” because Mattis would bring practical experience in counterinsurgency operations to doctrine development at the command.

Mattis received national publicity early 2005 when he said shooting Afghan insurgents fighting U.S. forces was “a hell of a hoot.” That comment was first reported by a local television station in San Diego, where Mattis spoke during a panel discussion. Then-Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee defended Mattis’ comments, saying they were a “reflection of the harsh realities of war,” CNN reported on its Web site on Feb. 4, 2005.


Linton Wells, a former official in the office of the DOD Chief Information Officer, said Mattis would bring a "healthy balance" between network-centric warfare initiatives and the traditional tenets of maneuver warfare to JFCOM.

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