Mr. President, Who YOU Appoint to Be the Next Secretary of the Army Will Clearly Demonstrate If YOU Truly Care about the Army and Our Soldiers! Make the Right Choice!
As the son of a career military man, birthed by a military doctor and the first time I moved off a military base was when I got drafted, I thought I knew all there was to know about the military. To my surprise, I learned more about what it meant to be a Soldier during my first 24 hours IN the military as I did being AROUND the military for my first 19 years!
With this experience, I have to ask the President to find someone who has donned a uniform in defense of this Nation to be our next Secretary of the Army, to lead our Army that has endured over a decade of sustained combat. John McHugh, the present secretary, has announced he is leaving.
In my opinion there are several former Soldiers that meet that criterion but none better qualified than former Army Chief of Staff and current President & CEO of the Association of the US Army (AUSA), Retired General Gordon R. Sullivan. Although 77 years old, the General is in excellent health and as AUSA president is intimately familiar with all the challenges facing the service. A two tour Vietnam Vet with multiple other tours in Europe and Korea, he has never been political although In August 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him Acting Secretary of the Army while he continued to serve as Army Chief of Staff so he has previous experience in the job.
True, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter never served in uniform but he did have 7 years in the Department of Defense prior to his nomination as SECDEF and he was smart enough to get retired Marine Colonel Bob Work, a combat veteran with over 27 years of active duty, to be his Deputy. Work also had four years as Under Secretary of the Navy. Also true, outgoing Army Secretary John McHugh never served but it shows. His seven years as secretary have been marked by reduced morale, increased suicides, declining readiness and a hollowing of the force not seen since the Carter Administration. Although his deputy, Under Secretary Brad Carson, spent some time in Iraq as a Navy Intelligence officer after being turned out of Congress, he received his Direct Commission at age 42 to polish up his resume so he is hardly an experienced military man so will have little practical Army experience to help the next Secretary deal with the myriad of challenges he will face.
With all this said, rumors abound that President Obama intends to nominate Political Hack Eric Fanning to replace McHugh although he is definitely NOT what we need as our next Secretary. Granted he is a seasoned community organizer having been a leader of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund helping Democrats get elected but this hardly qualifies him to lead our Nation’s Army in the final year and a half of the Obama Administration. The next few years promises to be challenging as the Army deals with considerable force reductions and refitting from a decade of War. The next Secretary needs to be able to hit the ground running with a deep understanding of not only how the Army runs but also has the deep respect of serving members -- Someone like General Sullivan.
Mr. President, this is another opportunity for you to secure your legacy. Are you going to saddle the Army with a political hack who knows nothing about the Army, strategically, tactically or culturally, for your final time in office or will you appoint a “Gordon Sullivan” type that actually can do something to rebuild the Army after a decade of War. This is your chance to demonstrate you really care about Soldiers and match your rhetoric with actions. Appoint Gordon Sullivan NOW!