Mullen v. Cartwright

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Po­lit­i­cal war­fare has bro­ken out within the of­fice of the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the Chair­man, Adm. Mike Mullen and Vice Chair­man, Gen. James E. Cartwright fac­ing off as bit­ter foes.

One is­sue is a nasty battle over whether Gen. Cartwright will suc­ceed Adm. Mullen when he steps down later this year.

Gen. Cartwright, who rose to the top with­out com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence, is the re­ported fa­vorite of Pres­i­dent Obama and worked with the pres­i­dent on the ul­tra­se­cret op­er­a­tion to kill Osama bin Laden.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials in the Pen­tagon and on Capi­tol Hill, Gen. Cartwright is said to be un­der scrutiny by three sen­a­tors who were alerted to char­ac­ter is­sues, in­clud­ing an in­spec­tor gen­eral’s re­port ear­lier this year that cleared the four-star gen­eral of al­le­ga­tions of im­pro­pri­ety re­lated to a fe­male sub­or­di­nate two years ago.

Ad­di­tion­ally, re­ports are cir­cu­lat­ing on both sides of the Po­tomac that Gen. Cartwright’s wife, Sandee Cartwright, is plan­ning to go pub­lic with her feel­ings about her hus­band.

The Cartwrights are sep­a­rated, and Mrs. Cartwright has writ­ten a letter to sev­eral high­rank­ing mil­i­tary of­fi­cers out­lin­ing what de­fense of­fi­cials say are the rea­sons for the sep­a­ra­tion.

The three sen­a­tors were iden­ti­fied as Dianne Fe­in­stein and Bar­bara Boxer, both Cal­i­for­nia Democrats, and Su­san Collins, Maine Repub­li­can.

“I’m told they are all very up­set with Cartwright and claim he did not com­port him­self well with women,” said one con­gres­sional aide.

A sec­ond of­fi­cial, how­ever, said Mrs. Fe­in­stein and Mrs. Collins have not ex­pressed any con­cerns, at least about the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and that Mrs. Boxer’s views were not known.

Spokes­men for Mrs. Fe­in­stein and Mrs. Boxer de­clined to com­ment. Con­gres­sional aides said the sen­a­tors were not aware of al­le­ga­tions against Gen. Cartwright but were alerted to the is­sues by news in­quiries.

Kevin Kel­ley, a spokesman for Mrs. Collins, said the sen­a­tor “thinks highly of Gen. Cartwright and has worked closely with him.”

Two Pen­tagon of­fi­cials said they suspect the dish­ing of dirt on Gen. Cartwright is com­ing from some­one close to Adm. Mullen, who is lob­by­ing within the gov­ern­ment against Gen. Cartwright’s po­ten­tial nom­i­na­tion to be chair­man.

Spokes­men for Adm. Mullen and Gen. Cartwright had no com­ment.

A mil­i­tar y of­fi­cial said: “There does seem to be a very ac­tive ef­fort to lobby against” Gen. Cartwright.

The of­fi­cial said he had heard that Gen. Cartwright’s view about the chair­man’s job is that he is ready to re­tire but would con­tinue to serve as the top mil­i­tary ad­viser to the pres­i­dent if asked. He also is not lob­by­ing for the po­si­tion.

A sec­ond na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said: “It’s not a good thing for these two se­nior of­fi­cers to be at odds.”

Adm. Mullen and Gen. Cartwright clashed in the past over U.S. mil­i­tary strat­egy in Afghanistan and more re­cently on how the mil­i­tary should re­spond to China’s mil­i­tar y buildup, with Gen. Cartwright op­pos­ing a tougher pos­ture to­ward Bei­jing.

“When war­ranted, the United States will re­spond to hos­tile acts in cy­berspace as we would to any other threat to our coun­try,” the strat­egy says. “All states pos­sess an in­her­ent right to self-de­fense, and we rec­og­nize that cer­tain hos­tile acts con­ducted through cy­berspace could com­pel ac­tions un­der the com­mit­ments we have with our mil­i­tary treaty part­ners.”

The re­port says the United States will “ex­haust all op­tions be­fore mil­i­tary force when­ever we can.” The United States “will care­fully weigh the costs and risks of ac­tion against the costs of in­ac­tion.”

Sen. Richard Lu­gar, In­di­ana Repub­li­can and rank­ing mem­ber of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, is con­tin­u­ing to op­pose rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the test­ban pact.

“Sen. Lu­gar’s po­si­tion hasn’t changed since he voted against the treaty in 1999, in part be­cause the treaty has not changed,” Mark Helmke, an aide to the sen­a­tor, told In­side the Ring in an email. “There is no clear def­i­ni­tion of what a test is, and the abil­ity to ver­ify the treaty is still ques­tion­able.”

Mr. Lu­gar is among the more arms-con­trol-friendly Repub­li­cans, and his op­po­si­tion means any ef­fort to rat­ify the CTBT will be an up­hill fight.

Mrs. Tauscher said in her speech that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is pre­par­ing to launch an “ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign that we ex­pect will lead to rat­i­fi­ca­tion” of the treaty.”

The top State Depart­ment arms-con­trol of­fi­cial also has been try­ing to reach an agree­ment with the Rus­sians on mis­sile de­fense that she said in the speech she hopes will “turn what has been an ir­ri­tant to the United States and Rus­sia re­la­tions into a shared in­ter­est.”

She did not ex­plain why de­fend­ing the United States and its al­lies from mis­sile at­tacks was an ir­ri­tant to U.S.-Rus­sian re­la­tions, but the pol­icy does not ap­pear to be work­ing.

Medvedev said.

ASSOCIATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

Not see­ing eye to eye? Joint Chiefs Vice Chair­man Gen. James E. Cartwright (left) re­port­edly is Pres­i­dent Obama’s pick as next chair­man, but the cur­rent chair­man, Ad­mi­ral Michael Mullen, is said to op­pose him.

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