“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, January 05, 2007


"One of the Most Important Military Men in the World."

President George W Bush has nominated the top military commander in the Pacific, Admiral William Fallon, as the new head of US Central Command. If confirmed, he will replace Gen John Abizaid in a move which will put a navy man in charge of overseeing the Middle East and two land wars - Iraq and Afghanistan.

ADMIRAL WILLIAM J. FALLON, USN Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
Admiral Fallon’s Bio at US Pacific Command
Admiral Fallon began his Naval Aviation service flying in the RA-5C Vigilante with a combat deployment to Vietnam, transitioning to the A-6 Intruder in 1974. He served in flying assignments with Attack Squadrons and Carrier Air Wings for twenty-four years, deploying to the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans embarked in USS Saratoga, USS Ranger, USS Nimitz, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Theodore Roosevelt. He has logged more than 1,300 carrier arrested landings and 4,800 flight hours in tactical jet aircraft.

Admiral Fallon commanded Attack Squadron SIXTY FIVE embarked in USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, Medium Attack Wing ONE at NAS Oceana, Virginia, and Carrier Air Wing EIGHT in USS Theodore Roosevelt during a combat deployment to the Arabian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Assigned as Commander, Carrier Group EIGHT in 1995, he deployed to the Mediterranean as Commander, Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group and commanded Battle Force SIXTH Fleet (CTF 60) during NATO’s combat Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia. Admiral Fallon served as Commander, SECOND Fleet and Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic from November 1997 to September 2000.

So, who is Admiral Fallon and what makes him the man?

Grim included this in a September post over at the Fourth Rail:

As Robert Kaplan noted in his Atlantic Monthly piece of June 2005, PACOM has become the real center of gravity of US military power, which is a type and degree of power that generates and carries on its own diplomacy. Admiral Fallon, though his name is unknown to most Americans, is one of the most important military men in the world.

Doug has mentioned in passing some thoughts about the Admiral that are echoed by commenters at the Confederate Yankee:

Sinking The Admiral
In addition, Admiral Fallon has restricted U.S efforts to conduct intelligence -gathering operations against China, leading us to be even more in the dark ...
One very interesting thing in the Confederate Yankee post is this observation:
The Song-class submarine may have targeted Admiral Fallon's carrier group, but by leaking the story to Bill Gertz when they did, it is clearly the intention of the Department of Defense to sink Fallon and a program that they consider to be a risk to national security.
National Public Radio featured Fallon on a story about North Korea.
U.S. Admiral Eyes Stronger Ties to Chinese Military by John Hendren
Morning Edition, November 1, 2006 • Adm. William Fallon, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, hopes the North Korea crisis will draw the American and Chinese militaries into closer cooperation. Fallon's interest in better relations with the Chinese comes as North Korea has agreed to return to negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.

Bill Gertz at the Washington Times has reported nothing about Fallon since the announcement but this is an interesting bit of news that shows that more than one group has a reason to torpedo the Admiral's nomination.

CIA on China threat
CIA Director Michael V. Hayden spoke to CIA employees yesterday for a town -hall-style meeting where he revealed the agency's new "Strategic Intent" report and outlined some of the reforms taken. They include setting up a new operations center with representatives from the collection, analysis and technical services branches.

The report lists the long war on terrorism, arms proliferation and the rise of China and India as part of the current "unstable and dangerous " strategic environment.

So far, it looks as though Admiral Fallon’s claim to fame and infamy is developing Sino-US military relations; a position which brings him into conflict with China Hawks at the DoD, the Pentagon and the CIA. Perhaps the President has chosen Fallon to reassure the Chinese regarding US intentions toward Iran. Maybe Fallon's aviation experience will serve the military goals of Navy close air support of Army units. More and more we are seeing Air Force and Navy personnel retrained and reassigned to ground combat units. Maybe the US military is evolving even more than we realize. Maybe one day we'll be down to nothing but two services, Navy and Marines.


  1. Those guys in the field don't know s... compared to the experts in DC, Rufus!

  2. Hell, Aristides informs us he had
    "just finished rereading Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" what would CBG Commander know compared to HIM?

  3. Should be good for padding the Bill on the next MASTER PLAN rewrite by the old boy.

  4. Wu Woo said,
    Fallon was the one who freed the US Marine from Philippine custody by taking tough action.

    Officials also said Admiral Fallon received a persuasive recommendation from the Joint Chiefs as one of the military’s stronger commanders of a geographic theater, with his current command including the challenges of North Korea and China.

    In that capacity, he also took the unusual and punitive move in December of canceling a large, annual field exercise with the Philippines over a local judge’s failure to honor the bilateral treaty governing protections for American military personnel. The judge refused to honor the agreement’s rule that American military personnel remain in American custody pending final appeal of all criminal proceedings against them, and ordered a marine convicted of rape held in a local jail even though the case was on appeal.

  5. On the previous thread, I mentioned Roggio's piece on Pakistan's lost territories. It's going to take a lot of air power to crack that nut.

  6. Whit,

    Re: Maybe one day we'll be down to nothing but two services, Navy and Marines.

    Not as long as there is an Air Force, Whit.

    “The Army, Navy and Marine Corps were open to a unified medical command, but Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne called it a ‘nonstarter.’”

    Air Force Times (1 Jan 2007). New health care plan stops shy of unification. Pg. 12.

    Seems detaching the beanies requires special medical expertize.

  7. Toot toot!
    U.S. ships hunt for al Qaeda off Somalia

    U.S. Navy warships yesterday stepped up patrols off Somalia, boarding fishing boats and oil tankers to search for al Qaeda agents who fled after their Islamist allies were chased into hiding.

  8. "A damaged lorry carrying sand lies on the road on outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, disabled by an RPG fired by Freelance Militia. "
    Why doesn't the Bar organize a Freelance Militia?

  9. rufus,

    Sorry, but in those whites, they all look like male nurses.

  10. Some folk are talking a 2nd Revolutionary War, with a touch of France.

    While Jorge Arbusto Gently Sleeps

    “How nice of El Bushito. He gave the Border Guardsmen guns to throw at the heavily armed Mexican filth infiltrating our border.
    We have the most contemptible jackals in DC who instead of fulfilling their public service obligations consider their ascend to Toilet Hill as a taxpayer subsidized vacation to pillage

  11. Well, isn’t this special: the West Bank just gained a moderate Muslim.

    Cleveland Islamic Leader Deported to West Bank

    “[H]e disparaged Jews in Arabic as “pigs and monkeys” and raised money for the killing of Jews by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

    H/T LGF

  12. rufus,

    re: whites

    I recall such conversations taking place in a galaxy far, far away.


  13. WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military already knows what half of its most-wanted terrorist targets look like because they have been apprehended and photographed in the past, a Republican congresswoman said Friday.

    Lawmaker: U.S. catching, releasing top terror targets

    The United States is operating "a catch and release program for al Qaeda in Iraq," said Rep. Heather Wilson, a member of the House intelligence committee.

    In remarks at the National Press Club, the New Mexico lawmaker said a senior official told her that the U.S. military already has photographs of "fully half of the high-value al Qaeda targets in Iraq" presently being hunted. (Watch how Congress is divided over whether to send more troops to Iraq )

    "They're wearing orange jumpsuits in the mugshots we took of them when we captured them the first time," Wilson recalled the official telling her.

    "We are operating a catch and release program for al Qaeda in Iraq. This is inexcusable and frustrating ... for the young men and women in the military who are in the fight," she added.

  14. France is growing a spine, at last.

    Insurgents are finding that even the vast, open oceans are no sanctuary.

    Another "moderate" Muslim leaves America.

    This is turning out to be a good day.

  15. Charlotte,
    They get the Crown Jewels,
    We get Porcelain Thrones
    On which we honor Toilet Hill.
    "Fair Trade," and all, ya know.

  16. Hey, Harrison:
    Better link the Possum Bistro or we'll put our garbage indoors til you do.
    I was going to but your gofetch address won't let me?

  17. Rufus, Allen:
    Back in the good old days, such dustups were also observed in Long Beach and environs!
    I once walked into the sight of a man's teeth violently meeting the rim of a porcelain throne.
    Wasn't pretty.

  18. Westhawk posted this:

    Musical Chairs

    The transfer of Admiral Fallon to Centcom will be demoralizing to many of America’s flag officers. For the third time during his presidency, Mr. Bush is retaining a four-star officer after what is normally his career-ending billet (regional commander or Joint Chiefs) and instead of retirement, transferring him to a another similar posting (the first two instances were bringing General Schoomaker out of retirement and the transfer of Marine General James Jones to European Command after a full tour as Commandant). The United States will likely lose the services of 10-20 talented three and four-star officers who have been passed over so Admiral Fallon can have a second tour in one of the top few prestigious billets.

    During his time at Pacific Command, Admiral Fallon has made a name for himself as a diplomat, most particularly advocating contact with the Chinese designed to avoid provocation and miscalculation. Beside his longevity in uniform, we don’t see what qualifies Admiral Fallon for Central Command more than the experiences of generals such as Conway, Mattis, Vines, McNeill, and others who have extensive experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before arriving at Pacific Command, Admiral Fallon’s career was in naval aviation at every level. We wonder if President Bush intends some significant application for this experience.

  19. harrison,

    Westhawk joins a growing list of disillusioned ground warriors who view the move of Admiral Fallon as an insult. He, as others, foresees a series of untimely retirements of Army and Marine flag officers in response. While tradition is essential to good order and discipline, I do detect in the non-specific criticism of Fallon’s reassignment the odor of deadwood.

  20. George couldn't be bothered worrying about the troops, or our courts, now that he has to worry about his own neck, he gets serious.
    Part of my comment to Harrison at BC:
    "Byron York has a piece about Harriet Miers being responsible for Court nominees:
    That and her oversight of JAG functioning was not worth W's putting in someone that could do the job for us and our troops.

    Now that his neck will be stretched by the Dems, he's reportedly got someone tougher.

    Too bad for all of us he wouldn't do it "just" for the troops."

  21. Our troops rated nothing more than a semi-competent Church Lady for 2 years.
    Not that the
    Rules of Endangerment
    were IMPORTANT or anything.
    Thanks, W!

  22. Never heard of him. Who really is this Fallon character?

    Is he a out of the box thinker, a maverick, a No Sir man's man, original, dangerous (even if a naval puke)? A man that can revolutionise land warfare thinking like fighter pilot John Boyd did?

    Or is he typical navy, Mr Establishment, safe, risk averse, politically correct, a by the book square thinker, a Tofflerian netcentric system of systems RMA warfare man? Somebody that views the war on terror as a power point slide side show to the real great game of own career, service and military industrial complex money grabbing politics?

    Any pointers?

  23. Bush and Fallon care more about all the trickling down trimmings from Weyland-Yutani than killing AQ. Bush went into Iraq to study AQ, to turn it into a weapon Weyland-Yutani could sell, perhaps. Whatever it was, it wasn't to kill them and not bring back.

    Wallace and Limbaugh were incredulous when grilling Clinton about his costly policies. If you attacked OBL or AQ, where is the evidence? We went over every inch of your documents and plans and found nothing like the plans you described!

    Clinton's response will echo in eternity: "That's because I blew the plans out of the god damned airlock, you rightwing hitjob!"

    Clinton asked America if its IQ had dropped while he was gentrifying Harlem by serenading the property with his saxophone. What was America's response? Election 2004.

    And now Bush wants to build a research colony in Kurdistan. I can see exactly where this is going...

  24. Being a Navy guy that wants closer PRC-US ties, he's probably at least somewhat outside the box.

  25. The plans probably left in Berger's pants.

  26. rufus said...
    Come back and let us know when you find out.

    If there were any leads on the
    'net I wouldn't be asking.

    Guy seems to say the right things about need for change away from cold war paradigms and systems, but then another article where he says technology aided speed of decision making is the way forward in the navy meeting the terrorist threat.

    Also, I just get kinda squirrely when I see any guy other than Audie Murphy or David Hackworth wearing what appears to be EIGHT rows of ribbons.

  27. You are right fellow. After the fourth row we get the message, no matter who you are.

  28. Aha,

    Adm. Jeremy Boorda, who committed suicide after being caught with a "V" for valor that he technically was not supposed to wear "only" wore five rows (photo)

  29. What if medals were awarded only after victory? What if the only medals permitted to be worn were for victory?

  30. I know Bill Fallon. I served under him when he was in OPTEVFOR. And with him on AirWing Deployments to unhealthy places. His breadth of intellectual inquiry is legend. He knows stupid when he hears it. He has gone into and will not shy from sending our forces into harms way. But it is apparent that this theater and these campaigns need brains. We sent the brawn or the brawn got sent. Now we can try brains who knows what brawn is for, and the costs involved. RDF

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  32. He was raised in Merchantville, N.J. A 1967 graduate of Villanova University, he received his commission through the Navy ROTC Program and was designated a naval flight officer upon completion of flight training march madness in December 1967. Adm. Fallon began his Naval Aviation service flying in the RA-5C Vigilante with a combat deployment to Vietnam, transitioning to the A-6 Intruder in 1974. He served in flying assignments with Attack Squadrons and Carrier Air Wings for 24 years, deploying to the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans embarked aboard USS Saratoga (CV 60), USS Ranger (CV 61), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). He has logged more than 1,300 carrier arrested landings and 4,800 flight hours in tactical jet aircraft.

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