Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New military chief is 'strategist,' not cyber expert | TheHill

New military chief is 'strategist,' not cyber expert | TheHill: President Obama’s pick to become the nation’s next top military officer, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., bucks a recent trend of cyber-focused appointments.

“He’s not a cyber expert,” said Peter Metzger, a former CIA intelligence officer and Marine who served with Dunford on four occasions. “But he doesn’t need to be.”

Cyber military specialists believe the Obama administration is seeking an operational expert and relationship builder, not a technological savant, to carry out Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s recently unveiled cyber vision.

“They went with a strategist,” said Chris Finan, a former military intelligence officer and adviser to the Obama administration on cybersecurity policy. “An operational artisan.”

Dunford made a name for himself as head of the coalition forces in Afghanistan during the drawdown of troops in 2013 and 2014. He also led a Marine unit during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dunford would replace Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who has served as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff since 2011.

As chairman, Dunford would likely oversee one of the largest military transformations in recent history. Traditional warfare is gravitating to cyberspace, as rogue nations and terrorist groups rapidly develop destructive hacking skills.