Pentagon Releases Details Of Investigation Into Former Marine Commandant

Photo via U.S. Marine Corps

A review of the Inspector General’s investigation into former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos provides new insight on the Marine leaders’ priorities following the 2011 Taliban urination scandal.

In a long-form report for Marine Corps Times, Andrew deGrandpre writes that the findings in the report may raise questions about the thoroughness of the inspector general investigation, and that “to Amos' harshest critics, the IG's findings are rife with shortcomings and oversights, at best a demonstration of incompetence and at worst a whitewash.”

The inspector general’s report was finalized in November 2013, but was only made public after a federal judge in Houston, Texas, ordered its release last month, the Marine Corps Times reports.

The report details the handling of James Brandon Conway’s promotion to lieutenant colonel, at a time when Amos barred Marines in Conway’s unit from similar career advancing moves, which led to allegations of favoritism, as Conway’s father was Amos’ predecessor as commandant, retired Gen. James Conway.

After the video surfaced showing Marine snipers urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, Amos placed a hold on all moves, including promotions, within 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, the snipers’ unit.

The inspector general’s investigation cleared Amos of wrongdoing, and found that his decision-making in Conway’s case was “reasonable” and not an example of favoritism. Following the urination scandal, Amos was also accused of pressuring top officers to pursue harsher charges against the snipers in the video. Another inspector general’s investigation cleared him of that, as well.

Cases involving individuals like Amos are referred to as ISOs, or investigations of senior officials and typically have two investigators, a lead and a back up, explained Marguerite Garrison to Marine Corps Times. Garrison is a retired Army colonel and oversaw the inspector general's investigation on Amos.

"It's so easy to be a Monday morning quarterback and second guess 'well, why didn't you go down this line?' But that's why we have to do re-interviews of folks," Garrison told the Marine Corps Times. "As a rule," she added, "I believe that our investigations are thorough."

However, not everyone is satisfied with the reports’ finding.

“Amos' [unlawful command influence] was judicially admitted to a military judge in writing by Marine Corps prosecutors assigned with the unenviable task of explaining and minimizing Amos’ misconduct,” said Lee Thweatt, a former Marine judge advocate who provided the inspector general’s report to the Marine Corps Times. “Yet the IG didn't even discuss that striking judicial admission in its report. The IG ended up becoming part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Worse, they fought for over a year in federal court to prevent the Freedom of Information Act from shedding light on their reports.”

Pictured left to right: Pedro Pascal ("Catfish"), Garrett Hedlund ("Ben"), Charlie Hunnam ("Ironhead"), and Ben Affleck ("Redfly") Photo Courtesy of Netflix

A new trailer for Netflix's Triple Frontier dropped last week, and it looks like a gritty mash-up of post-9/11 war dramas Zero Dark Thirty and Hurt Locker and crime thrillers Narcos and The Town.

Read More Show Less
Army Sgt. Daniel Cowart gets a hug from then-Dallas Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty. Photo: Department of Defense

The Distinguished Service Cross was made for guys like Sgt. Daniel Cowart, who literally tackled and " hand to hand combat" a man wearing a suicide vest while he was on patrol in Iraq.

So it's no wonder he's having his Silver Star upgraded to the second-highest military award.

Read More Show Less
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.

The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.

I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)

The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.

On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.

Read More Show Less