Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Annals of the Trump transition: Is Gen. Milley wearing a target on his back?

For those of you not paying attention, Gen. Mark Milley is the chief of staff of the U.S. Army.

800px-mark_miley_army_chief_of_staff
800px-mark_miley_army_chief_of_staff

 

 

For those of you not paying attention, Gen. Mark Milley is the chief of staff of the U.S. Army. Okay, it is not as significant a position as it was during World War II, but even so the occupant does inherit the mantle of Marshall, Bradley, Ridgway, and Abrams. And despite what Tommy R. Franks says, it is still important, because it brings with it a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the right to speak directly to the president.

So why do I ask that rude question about Gen. Milley in the headline? Because of all the current members of the Joint Chiefs, he’s the only one I can think of who was selected (I was told at the time) as a result of influence by the Obama White House.

Meanwhile, my guess on the Trump presidency: He is cunning enough to know that what he is good at is campaigning, not running the federal government. So my guess is he will dump most of that on Vice President-elect Pence. He will continue to campaign as best he can. He can’t make wild promises all the time, sure, but he can continue to hold rallies to rile people up, blame others, and point fingers.

Photo credit: MONICA KING/U.S. Army photo/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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