The Cable

Hoss Cartwright joins CSIS

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as the first chair of a new program in defense policy studies. "There is no one better suited than General Cartwright to serve as CSIS’s inaugural Defense Policy ...

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as the first chair of a new program in defense policy studies.

"There is no one better suited than General Cartwright to serve as CSIS’s inaugural Defense Policy Studies Chair," said CSIS counselor and trustee Harold Brown in a release. "General Cartwright has always put America’s security first and I am delighted that he will continue to help shape policies and influence decisions to make us all safer and more secure." 

CSIS is led by former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, and former Sen. Sam Nunn is the chairman of the board of trustees. Other trustees include former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.

Cartwright’s new chair is named in honor of Harold Brown, who served as secretary of defense from 1977 until 1981 in President Jimmy Carter‘s administration. Like Brown, Cartwright built a reputation throughout his career for being critical of the Defense Department bureaucracy and pushing for policies that other high-level officials disagreed with. Cartwright’s 2009 advocacy for a smaller surge in Afghanistan than that requested by his bosses, Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, led to a falling out between him and the Pentagon leadership.

President Barack Obama had promised Cartwright a promotion to chairman of the Joint Chiefs, but later reneged when a whisper campaign against Cartwright — reportedly coming from within the Pentagon — made the choice politically difficult.

In an interview with The Cable just before leaving the Pentagon, Cartwright said that he had no regrets about his time at the Pentagon, and he rejected contentions that he broke the chain of command by working around Gates and Mullen.

"Well, you know, in someone’s eyes, maybe I broke the chain of command. But from the standpoint of the law, no. And so I’m very comfortable with where I was," he said. "My advice wasn’t always taken, but it always at least informed the debate, which was my measure of merit. That people were so strongly against it at times, well shoot … these are big decisions."

"America will be forever indebted to General Cartwright for his many years of distinguished service," Hamre said in the release. "His thoughtful leadership, keen intellect, and his commitment to making the world a better place are of great value to CSIS."

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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