Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellows for Military Affairs and National Security Policy Dave Barno and Nora Bensahel write for War on the Rocks on what it will be like for Marine General Joe Dunford becoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Next week, Marine General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford will take over as the 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford will be only the second marine to hold the job, replacing Army General Martin Dempsey who has held the position for the past four years. As the nation’s senior-most uniformed officer and principal military advisor to the president, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs oversees a domain that includes virtually every imaginable global threat and national security problem. Dunford will inherit many of the challenges that Dempsey faced, as well as unforeseen crises and challenges that will inevitably arise. He will take charge of a military struggling to transition from two prolonged land wars that must become adaptable enough for a very different future.

One of Dunford’s most important responsibilities will be to provide advice to the president and to other decision makers on how to respond to today’s wars and smoldering conflicts. The range of challenges is vast – including combating the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, pushing back against Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, dealing with an ever more assertive China in the Western Pacific, and determining the residual U.S. force size in Afghanistan after 2016. Here Dunford will be at his strongest. He understands the limits of military power and can offer sound counsel on the seemingly implacable conflicts of the Middle East, suggest ways to rebuild confidence in the NATO alliance in the face of Russia, persist in pressing America’s case by reaching out to friends and allies in the Pacific, and continue to shape the ever-changing global fight against non-state actors targeting the U.S. interests at home and abroad.

Read the full article here.

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