Vice Chairman Plans to Retire in August
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 4, 2007 After 37 years of commissioned service, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. will retire in August.
Giambastiani will retire after serving two years as America’s second-highest ranking military officer. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1970 and is a career submariner who has spent an extensive amount of time in joint assignments and in experimentation and concept development.
During his career, the admiral has worked on every Quadrennial Defense Review, and has worked to implement the recommendations of those important documents.
Giambastiani spoke about his tenure as vice chairman during an interview today. He said he came back to the Pentagon in 2005 after serving as Commander Joint Forces Command and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation to work on the “business of business” of the Department of Defense. He teamed with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England to refine management processes and change the way the department develops, acquires and maintains defense capabilities.
“Ed Giambastiani has given a lifetime for service to his Nation and he will be deeply missed,” England said. “His strong, steady leadership has ensured that our military is prepared for any challenge it may face, both today and in the future.
“He has been a close partner and friend to me and a champion of the men and women of our armed forces and their families,” England continued. “America will miss this great Naval Officer, and we wish Ed and his family every blessing in their future.”
Giambastiani says that transforming the military will continue under Defense Secretary Gates. “You try to make yourself a learning institution, you want to embed a ‘change culture,’ and you want people to understand that a ‘change culture’ is good,” the admiral said.
Giambastiani also talked about how the military needs to continue the process of change, identify and act on lessons learned and look at itself critically. “We’ve embedded some of this, but frankly this mindset, this culture and this process need to be reinforced continually,” he said.
The military has developed institutions to do this, and developed leaders at all levels to continue this process, the admiral said.
He said that Deputy Defense Secretary England is a “national treasure” and a key person in the whole change process. Giambastiani said that it has been an honor to work with Secretary England.
“He is dedicated to the department, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and he brings a focus to this that is really quite remarkable and healthy for the system,” he said.
Giambastiani and England have been involved in making the Defense bureaucracy more agile and able to move quickly. The two have worked to include the combatant commanders and the Pentagon stakeholders in an expanded Joint Requirements Oversight Council, as well as working with civilian and uniformed leaders on the Defense Acquisition Board and the Deputies Advisory Working Group.
The refined, collaborative and transparent business processes being employed by these entities improve resource decisions that affect servicemembers serving in combat zones. Among these are the decision to get combat capabilities like the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle to troops faster. Other decisions include accelerating unmanned aerial vehicle acquisition and development of intelligence capabilities.
Establishing the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization is another example of working to develop comprehensive fixes to a problem – that of IEDs and car bombs – which cuts across the department and includes technology, tactics, techniques and procedures to combat the threat, he said.
Giambastiani said his most memorable time in the military has been “continuously working all these years with the fine young people. They are inspirational and remarkable. Getting up every morning and coming to work with them, working to help them be successful, and trying to provide them with the equipment and capabilities they need to get their job done has been the most rewarding part.”
The admiral also said that meeting with servicemembers worldwide and “seeing how they apply themselves to the mission at hand” has been inspiring.
The admiral, from Canastota, N.Y., has not given any thought to what he will do after retirement. “I’ll decide that after I retire, I’m too busy now,” he said.