Let me start off by saying that they don’t make ’em any better than Joe Dunford. I have known and admired him since I met him when he was a Major and the Marine Officer Instructor at my alma mater (Holy Cross) and I went back to visit as a new Captain. He commanded 5th Marines on the March Up, and was Chief of Staff to General Mattis in OIF II. He commanded I MEF, and MARCENT, served as Assistant Commandant, and commanded ISAF/USFOR-A. General Dunford skipped a pay grade (MajGen) in his meteoric rise from Colonel in 2004 t0 four stars in 2010. His pedigree is that of a Marine’s Marine, and a superb combat leader.
That said, General Dunford presents a bit of a problem to current political office-holders. He has refused to countenance the lowering of standards of the US Marine Corps’ Infantry Officers’ Course so that women may complete the program. There have been zero female graduates of thirty-odd, none even have gotten close. In fact, only one or two have made it out of the first week. Those who watch closely see the Marine Corps under considerable pressure to alter (read: lower) the standards so that females can successfully complete IOC, and thus far, Dunford has firmly held the line against doing so. Dunford is a high-profile rising star, and is not easily kicked aside, especially now that he is the Marine Corps’ 36th Commandant. However, with a “promotion” to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dunford will have limited ability to influence service policy, certainly less so in the Marine Corps, which is considered the most politically unpalatable of the services to this Administration. In addition, the Obama Administration could select the next Marine Commandant based on his (her?) willingness to lower those standards, much as the disastrous James Amos was chosen for agreeing to go along with DADT. (Smart money says Amos’ predecessor, General Conway, would have very publicly resigned in protest, and the decision was to wait until his retirement.)
I wish I did not have to try and figure Obama’s angle in what has been his constant push to further the erosion of the Armed Forces by forcible injection of more far-left social experimentation. But he is not to be trusted, nor are the Defense or Service Secretaries, certainly not on these issues. Mabus, in particular, is much the political sycophant that Missy Mullen was, and the senior uniformed leadership in DoD is heavily populated with similar types who have sold their honor for advancement and promotion. While General Joseph Dunford would be an exceptional Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I would nonetheless like to see him remain as the Commandant of the Marine Corps, where his hand and his influence is most needed and appreciated.