- By Thomas E. RicksThomas 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 email@example.com.
It just occurred to me that the Marines currently bring three principals’ votes to meetings in the Pentagon’s tank: Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Marine Commandant Robert Neller. That equals the total for the Army, Navy, and Air Force at the table.
If you add deputies, to include Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and the assistant commandant of the Corps, the Marine bloc goes to five versus three for the Air Force (who hold the vice chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs), and just two each for the Army and Navy.
Cranky MOAB note: Meantime, I have nothing to add about the GBU-43/B fuel-air bomb dropped near the Pakistani-Afghan border, except that it seems to me to be the right weapon to go after a tunnel complex in hard rock — especially tunnels paid for by our taxpayer dollars in the 1980s. Evvybuddy going on about how this sends a message should hush right up — the bomb is delivered by pushing it out the back of a modified cargo aircraft, an MC-130, and you’re not gonna get one of those safely over North Korea without doing a whole lot of radar and air defense busting beforehand. The bomb is not a bunker-buster — more, it is a flat-out killer of people hiding in tunnel complexes.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense