GENERAL JAMES L. JONES
United States Marine Corps
nominated by President Bush to be NATO's supreme allied commander
|James L. Jones, the Marine Corps commandant, has commanded the 2nd Marine Division and was senior military assistant to Defense Secretary William Cohen. He has been nominated by President Bush to be NATO's supreme alliedcommander.
I think it has changed the understanding and the potential of the Marines' future direction. 9/11was able to show the difference between an amphibious force of the 20th century and anexpeditionary force in the 21st century.I've always felt that the Marines have been victimized a little bit by our historical successess.When you think of the Marine Corps you think of Iwo Jima, you think of Guadalcanal, you think of Saipan, Guam, Okinawa.
Our critics had always said, 'That was then and this is now. We'renot going to do those kinds of operations any more. Therefore why do you need a MarineCorps ? What island are you guys going to seize ?'
The mindset was, a task force comes abreast of the beach, slow moving landing craft lands,Marines storm ashore, fight ferociously, raise the flag and end the mission. That is anamphibious mindset, and we celebrate that all the time.
The truth of the matter is that anexpeditionary force would never take Iwo Jima that way. Why ? The technology means that wedon't have to do that.9/11 and our response to it provided us with the opportunity, thanks to Gen. Franks - an Armygeneral, I might add - who needed a conventional force, needed it quickly, and was able toproject two Marine Expeditionary Units simultaneously, between 400 and 600 miles.
And there are still a lot of people scratching their heads and saying,'We didn't know the Marines could do that.' Well, we've been working on this expeditionary concept for a long time...To me the true definition of an expeditionary force is that it's on scene, that it's immediatelyemployable when the word is given, and that it's sustainable over a period of time, say 30, 60, 90 days, without too much reliance on anything outside.
New York Times - 9 September 2002