At a passage-of-command ceremony Oct. 22, Gen. James Amos was elevated to the post of Marine Commandant – the 35th to hold the position, and the first-ever naval aviator to assume it, National Defense Magazine reports.
At the ceremony, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates challenged the new commandant and the Corps, itself, to “make the intellectual investment” to prepare for the future, Colin Clark at DoDBuzz reports.
“They need to preserve both their maritime soul and the hard-won counterinsurgency skills they’ve developed during this past decade,” Gates said, drawing comparisons to the ways the Marines expanded their mission following World War II.
Conway, the outgoing commandant, gave his stamp of approval on the Amos pick.
“Amos knows Washington,” Conway said. “He has what it takes to be competitive in this resource-constrained environment.”
According to National Defense Magazine, Conway has spent the past two years finding ways to downsize the Marine footprint in Iraq and shift resources to Afghanistan.
In his first remarks as the Marine commandant, Amos provided glimpses into the future, DoDBuzz reports.
“We’ve always said we’d be most ready when the nation is least ready,” Amos said. “Our nation still needs a force that is most ready when the nation is least ready and, ladies and gentlemen, that will be my focus as commandant for the next four years.”
In reading the tea leaves of both Amos’ and Conway’s remarks, DoDBuzz concludes it sounds as if the Marines will retain their core amphibious capability, but also “institutionalize their role as a second land army, but one that is at the ready, flexible and useful when bigger, more powerful forces may not be.”