Marine Gen. Peter Pace Next Joint Chiefs Chairman

President Bush will elevate Marine Gen. Peter Pace to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bush to Nominate Pace to Lead Joint Chiefs (AP)

Photo: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, right, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, gestures during a Pentagon news conference in February 2005 to discuss the situation in Iraq. Pace, a Vietnam veteran whose military postings have ranged from the ceremonial halls of the White House to the violent streets of Somalia, is expected to be named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior official said Wednesday, April 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim) President Bush’s choice to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, has quietly helped shape the Pentagon’s role in the global war on terrorism since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Bush will announce Friday that he will nominate Pace to succeed Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers as Joint Chiefs chairman, administration officials said. Pace is expected to win Senate confirmation easily.

Pace, 59, would be the first Marine to be chairman. He also would be only the second to rise from vice chairman to the top spot. Myers, due to retire Sept. 30 after four years on the job, was the first.

Quite interesting. It would have until recently been unthinkable to put a Marine in such a position. This move, along with the appointment of former Commandant James Jones as head of the European Command, is a strong signal that the military is indeed transforming to meet the new strategic climate.

The Bush-Rumsfeld practice of picking the Chairman from within the Joint Staff, while certainly subject to criticism on the familiar “loyalty test” grounds, strikes me as incredibly sensible. Not only does it ensure that the position will go to someone who is a superb joint staff operative but it significantly reduces the learning curve of the incoming Chairman. That makes sense any time, let alone in the middle of a war.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. A Marine is also “CINC” of STRATCOM.

  2. chris says:

    The Marines have always been there to get the job done when no one else could. By putting a jarhead in charge we can finally say that Marines are “officially” in charge.

    For all you sailors out there who like to remind us that the Marine Corps is department of the Navy. You are right…the MENS Department.

  3. Harold says:

    I hope Gen. Peter Pace will be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.All of us will support Gen. Peter pace.We love him.

  4. payman says:

    I am reminded of Secretary Rumsfeld’s observation that you don’t get to go to war with the military you want but you go to war with the military you have. It seems that Gen. Pace has been a major part of taking the military we had when we last went to war and getting it to do what is necessary in the GWOT.

    His carer has included a goodly portion of the many years our nation had been at war without knowing it prior to 09-11-01. We can hope that under his leadership the JCS takes seriously the need to plan and manage our resources to deal with other wars in which we may be or may become engaged unknowingly in addition to the GWOT.

    The need for Planning and managing battles that you don’t know you are having as seems required today, will make for an interesting life as CJCS.

    We need to wish him success.