New Vice Chairman Shares Views on War, Transformation Priorities
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2005 Transforming the military to fight the war on terror is at the heart of the mission for the new vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. said he is "particularly motivated" to find ways to combat improvised explosive devices.
IEDs and vehicle-borne IEDs are terrorist weapons of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan. "These 'weapons of precise destruction' are not only claiming the lives of our young men and women in current operations, but will likely be employed against our forces and our partners in the years to come," Giambastiani said in written responses to questions posed just before he took office Aug. 12.
He said his job will be to do everything possible to help servicemembers do their missions. "They deserve 100 percent of our energy," he said. "We should provide them with the very best education, training, equipment, organizations and leadership available to make them successful in very demanding missions we ask them to do each and every day around the globe."
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, swore in Giambastiani Aug. 12. The admiral succeeded Marine Gen. Peter Pace as the vice chairman. Pace has been confirmed as the next chairman and will assume the office at the end of September.
The admiral said the "the best time to undertake transformation is when you are engaged in challenging operations." The pressure of the war on terror will add urgency to the move toward transformation.
He said he will aggressively translate lessons learned into concrete proposals that can be funded. He said he will also work with other agencies in the U.S. government and with coalition allies.
Giambastiani, who commanded U.S. Joint Forces Command, said he will take the lessons he learned there and apply them in new ways. "We have made great strides in identifying how we can improve our operations," he said. "While we have advanced considerably in the last several years, we still have much work to do. Much of the work is in the policy area here in Washington, which can empower the operators in the field to work together in an ever more interdependent manner.
"I am committed to working on these policy issues so that we can coherently employ all elements of national power to achieve our strategic goals," he said.
Giambastiani said he will wake up every day asking what more he can do to help servicemembers be successful. "This is something I will remind the staff of often," he said.