Retiring ‘Admiral G’ Lauded for Vision, Shaping Future
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
ANNAPOLIS, Md., July 27, 2007 Retiring Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani was lauded here today as a visionary who put his country and his people first as he helped shape the military for the future.
Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during his retirement ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., July 27, 2007. Giambastiani is retiring after 37 years of commissioned service in the Navy. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
U.S. and military leaders feted Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the yard of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was commissioned 37 years ago.
Vice President Richard B. Cheney praised Giambastiani as the right man with the right capabilities to help lead the Defense Department through tremendous changes required to face current and future threats.
Throughout his long list of career accomplishments, Giambastiani demonstrated “competence, reliability and something more,” the vice president said. “Ed Giambastiani stands out as a visionary and a strategic thinker of the first order.”
Giambastiani recognized the importance of change and the need to prepare for what’s ahead in a systematic, decisive way, Cheney said. “In Ed’s words, big organizations need to have a group of smart people who wake up every day thinking about how to innovate,” he said. “And he has helped build that very kind of culture in the United States military.”
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined Cheney in lauding Giambastiani’s work as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation.
Giambastiani “took both of those commands and put them on the road to understanding what transformation could do and lining up the basic foundations on which your successors have built,” Pace said.
From there, as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Giambastiani led the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, “making the decisions that design the armed forces for the future,” Cheney said.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged that leading the JROC, which provides advance and assessment of military capability needs, is no easy task. The work requires “guiding thousands of procedures, requirements and people,” he said.
It “can be difficult on any day, but in the middle of two wars where assets are needed yesterday, Ed did an outstanding job of getting vital equipment to those on the front lines quickly,” Gates said.
While helping shape change, Giambastiani recognized that it doesn’t happen overnight, Cheney said. “He understands profoundly that a massive organization tends to move slowly and turns in a wide arc, much like an aircraft carrier,” he said.
But through “perseverance and clear-focused thinking,” Giambastiani has made a long-standing impact on the force, he said.
“He will always be remembered as one of the military leaders who brought us into the 21st century with a clear understanding of the technological age and an absolute determination to preserve America’s competitive advantage in warfare,” he said.
“Years into the future, our military will be better and our nation will be safer, thanks to the skill and foresight of this Navy admiral.”