Gates Recommends Mullen to Replace Pace as Chairman
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued June 8, 2007)
WASHINGTON --- To avoid a contentious reconfirmation process, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will recommend that President Bush nominate Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael G. Mullen to replace Marine Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In a Pentagon news conference today, Gates said he also will recommend Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright for the position of vice chairman. Cartwright is the commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., the current vice chairman, announced his decision to retire last week.

“I have become well acquainted with Admiral Mullen over the last six months and believe he has the strategic insight, experience and integrity to lead America’s armed forces,” Gates said.

Gates said he intended to re-nominate Pace and Giambastiani but after consulting with senators of both parties came to the conclusions “that because General Pace has served as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the last six years, the focus of his confirmation process would have been on the past rather than the future.”

He said the confirmation process would have the possibility of being quite contentious. “I am no stranger to contentious confirmations, and I do not shrink from them,” Gates said. “However, I have decided at this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform, and General Pace himself would not be well-served by a divisive ordeal in selecting the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

Pace will continue to serve as chairman until his term ends Sept. 30. He is the first Marine to hold the position.

Pace, a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a rifle platoon leader in Vietnam and commanded at all levels of the Marine Corps. He was serving as the commander of U.S. Southern Command when nominated to be the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2001. He took office weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

In 2005, he was nominated to be the chairman. The chairman serves as the principle military advisor to the president, secretary of defense and the National Security Council.

Mullen is a 1968 graduate of the Naval Academy. He is surface-warfare qualified and has commanded three ships: the USS Noxabee, the USS Goldsborough and the USS Yorktown. As a flag officer he commanded the USS George Washington Battle Group and served as the commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.

Gates said that Pace has served as a Marine for more than 40 years. “He deserves the deepest thanks of the American people for a lifetime of service to our country and for his leadership,” Gates said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him, trust him completely, and value his candor and willingness to speak his mind.” (ends)

Vice Chairman Plans to Retire in August
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued June 4, 2007)
WASHINGTON --- After 37 years of commissioned service, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. will retire in August.

Giambastiani will retire after serving two years as America’s second-highest ranking military officer. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1970 and is a career submariner who has spent an extensive amount of time in joint assignments and in experimentation and concept development.

During his career, the admiral has worked on every Quadrennial Defense Review, and has worked to implement the recommendations of those important documents.

Giambastiani spoke about his tenure as vice chairman during an interview today. He said he came back to the Pentagon in 2005 after serving as Commander Joint Forces Command and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation to work on the “business of business” of the Department of Defense. He teamed with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England to refine management processes and change the way the department develops, acquires and maintains defense capabilities.

“Ed Giambastiani has given a lifetime for service to his Nation and he will be deeply missed,” England said. “His strong, steady leadership has ensured that our military is prepared for any challenge it may face, both today and in the future.

“He has been a close partner and friend to me and a champion of the men and women of our armed forces and their families,” England continued. “America will miss this great Naval Officer, and we wish Ed and his family every blessing in their future.”

Giambastiani says that transforming the military will continue under Defense Secretary Gates. “You try to make yourself a learning institution, you want to embed a ‘change culture,’ and you want people to understand that a ‘change culture’ is good,” the admiral said.

Giambastiani also talked about how the military needs to continue the process of change, identify and act on lessons learned and look at itself critically. “We’ve embedded some of this, but frankly this mindset, this culture and this process need to be reinforced continually,” he said.

The military has developed institutions to do this, and developed leaders at all levels to continue this process, the admiral said.

He said that Deputy Defense Secretary England is a “national treasure” and a key person in the whole change process. Giambastiani said that it has been an honor to work with Secretary England.

“He is dedicated to the department, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and he brings a focus to this that is really quite remarkable and healthy for the system,” he said.

Giambastiani and England have been involved in making the Defense bureaucracy more agile and able to move quickly. The two have worked to include the combatant commanders and the Pentagon stakeholders in an expanded Joint Requirements Oversight Council, as well as working with civilian and uniformed leaders on the Defense Acquisition Board and the Deputies Advisory Working Group.

The refined, collaborative and transparent business processes being employed by these entities improve resource decisions that affect service-members serving in combat zones. Among these are the decision to get combat capabilities like the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle to troops faster. Other decisions include accelerating unmanned aerial vehicle acquisition and development of intelligence capabilities.

Establishing the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization is another example of working to develop comprehensive fixes to a problem – that of IEDs and car bombs – which cuts across the department and includes technology, tactics, techniques and procedures to combat the threat, he said.

Giambastiani said his most memorable time in the military has been “continuously working all these years with the fine young people. They are inspirational and remarkable. Getting up every morning and coming to work with them, working to help them be successful, and trying to provide them with the equipment and capabilities they need to get their job done has been the most rewarding part.”

The admiral also said that meeting with service-members worldwide and “seeing how they apply themselves to the mission at hand” has been inspiring.

The admiral, from Canastota, N.Y., has not given any thought to what he will do after retirement. “I’ll decide that after I retire, I’m too busy now,” he said.

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