At a Glance
- Career History: Commanded several Marine aviation squadrons/wings, II Marine Expeditionary Force, senior NATO command positions, assistant USMC commandant
- Deployments: Balkans, Operation Iraqi Freedom I, OIF II
- Hometown: Wendell, Idaho
- Alma Mater: University of Idaho
Path To Power
Amos was born Nov. 12, 1946 in Wendell, Idaho, later graduating from the University of Idaho.
His career as a "Leatherneck" is a mix of fighter jock posts and prominent operational and staff posts.
Part of the Marine Corps' storied warrior ethos is to charge straight into the fight. That's the exactly what Amos did when asked about the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy on gays serving in the military right before the Defense Department released a late 2010 report concluding that repealing the policy wouldn't significantly harm troops currently serving in two wars.
Gays in the Military
Amos took office on Oct. 22, 2010. By Nov. 6, the Marine Corps commandant had publicly voiced his opposition to a proposal to change the policy to allow gays to openly serve in uniform. Speaking to reporters that day in San Diego, the new commandant said "now is not the time to overturn the don't ask, don't tell policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military," The Associated Press reported. "'This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness,'" Amos said.He went on to say there is "risk involved" with ending the current policy.
Amos joins other current and former Marines in top national security jobs inside the Obama administration. Gen. James Mattis, the Marines' own "warrior-scholar," is U.S. Central Command chief, and Gen. James Cartwright is the vice chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). If Cartwright is elevated, as rumored, to commander of the JCS when Adm. Michael Mullen retires, Amos would find a fellow "Devil Dog" at the head of the table in "The Tank," the Joint Chiefs official conference room in the Pentagon's E-Ring.
Across the Potomac River, retired Gen. James Jones, himself a former Marine Corps commandant, is the outgoing national security advisor at the White House. How have Marines fared thus far in the Obama administration? Jones has been cast as never broaching Obama's inner circle, as struggling to foster policy consensus among the various security agencies, and as being somewhat run over by the Pentagon. The very mention of Cartwright as the next chairman speaks to his success. Defense insiders say he is a favorite of Gates, and has gained Obama's confidence.
Like all senior military officials, Amos has not donated to any political candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.