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Odierno yet again asked to eliminate his job

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, thought it was his reward for a job well done. After spending several years in the war zone, he was scheduled to pack up in Iraq on Sept. 1 and depart for a plum job back in the states as head of the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Instead, the Pentagon announced Monday, Odierno's new job is being downsized. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he plans to eliminate the Norfolk-based Joint Forces Command, which employs about 2,800 civilian and military personnel, as well as 3,000 contractors, and has a $240 million annual budget.

Odierno, a four-star Army general who was confirmed for his new command just last month by the Senate, will still get to take on the new assignment, but only as long as it takes him to carry out Gates's order to dismantle the Joint Forces Command.

"I suspect it will take about a year to carry out this change," Gates said. He added that he had already spoken to Odierno and that "he supports the decision."

"Essentially, I told him his assignment is the same as Iraq," Gates told reporters, "to work himself out of a job and then I'll find a new and better one for him."

As commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Odierno's primary task has been to carry out President Obama's directive to withdraw all U.S. combat forces by Aug. 31, a massive drawdown that will leave only 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq on Sept. 1.

By Craig Whitlock  | August 9, 2010; 5:25 PM ET
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Somewhat ironic that Gen Odierno will be in a position of dealing with cutting slots, etc.

Back in 2000, when he was a BG, I participated in manpower sessions he personally presided over where we reviewed EVERY military and civilian job in the Army to see if we could convert any military positions to civilian positions (civil servants or contractor types). For example, could/should we replace uniformed Army MP's at the gates of West Point with civilian guards or contract security guards; that sort of review process.

He was a great guy to work with and when it was over all of us felt we had done good work for the Army.

Those sessions were part of the FAIR Act process as well as normal Army review processes of the TAA and DRID-20.

I'm sure General Odierno will turn in very professional efforts no matter what he does at JiffyCOM.

Posted by: 809212876 | August 9, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse


Now, what will Obama do about his three dozen czars?

Posted by: wheeljc | August 9, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Finally a Secretary of Defense that has the guts to do his job. I hope Congress is watching and learning.If ever there was a need for guts it is in Congress.

Posted by: rymp | August 9, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Now what will Obama do? Who do you think directed Gates to perform cost cutting? I'm not saying that we couldn't go without all those czars, but seriously that was a stretch. Next thing you know people will start complaining that he is is contributing to unemployment, but slash that deficit! It wouldn't hurt to take a page from David Cameron by raising taxes and cut spending. But congress doesn't actually want to cut the deficit; how will they run a campaign if they have nothing to whine about?

Posted by: booerns14 | August 10, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"Now, what will Obama do about his three dozen czars?"

Humm ... three dozen ... that's still fewer than the number of czars cheney and bush had.

Posted by: knjincvc | August 11, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

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