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Pace Describes Process That Leads to ‘Best Military Advice’

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2006 – The chairman and the rest of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are looking at fresh ways to provide the best advice to civilian leaders with respect to figuring out the way forward in Iraq, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said during a news conference here today.

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Marine Gen. Peter pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefs reporters in the Pentagon on Nov. 29. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Pace has served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for more than five years, first as vice chairman and now as chairman. He said the chiefs -- made up of the chairman, vice chairman, Army and Air Force chiefs of staff, chief of naval operations and commandant of the Marine Corps -- meet up to three times a week to discuss individual portions of the global war on terror and the overall strategy.

Now, battle-tested unit commanders are involved in the process.

“What is different today is that about two months ago … the chiefs agreed that we would benefit from having some of our best and brightest commanders who are recently back from Iraq and Afghanistan join us in our deliberations,” Pace said.

The services selected captains and colonels just back from the combat zone to help the chiefs think through the thorny issues confronting them. “We’ve asked them to keep a very wide aperture, to take nothing off the table, to think about the worst and the best and to think about as many ideas as they possibly could,” Pace said.

The chiefs take this input and combine it with recommendations and discussions from their staffs, the Joint Staff, the combatant commanders and others to help formulate their best recommendations and military advice to the president and secretary of defense, Pace said.

He added that the chiefs will continue to do this. “I really like the additional brainpower and experience that has been brought to us by these colonels and captains,” he said. “So I intend … to have them continue to meet with us.”

The chairman said he will “refresh the pot” with commanders with more recent experience as the process goes along. “It is a way for us to continue to give, on a recurring basis, our best military advice,” he said.

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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