Commandant on Dunford-to-Afghanistan speculation: ‘I like right where he is’

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Commandant Gen. Jim Amos promotes then Lt-Gen. Joseph Dunford in October 2010, as Dunford became assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. (Photo by Lance Cpl. James B. Purschwitz)

Commandant Gen. Jim Amos met with reporters today at the Pentagon, leading me to ask him about the reports this week that his assistant commandant, Gen. Joseph Dunford, is the frontrunner to become the next commander of the war in Afghanistan.

It’s one of those classically awkward situations where journalists feel required to ask a question, knowing it’s unlikely a full answer can be provided. Asked what he would do to replace Dunford, Amos called him “one of the finest officers who have ever worn this cloth,” but declined to go much farther.

“He’s been a teammate of mine since he was a colonel and I was a two-star, so we’ve been together for a long time,” Amos said. “He’s got a day job right now, and it’s called [being]the assistant commandant. I like right where he is, and any future jobs or nominations are approved by the secretary of defense and the president… I’ll just leave it at that.”

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I’m a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

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