Opinion

Army chief smacks down junior congressman

What happens when a 37-year career Army veteran now serving as its chief of staff has had enough of the political posturing of a California congressman just starting his third term? World War III, that’s what.

Odierno_Raymond
Gen. Ray Odierno: “I’m tired of somebody telling me I don’t care about our soldiers.” Photo credit en.wikipedia.org

Gen. Ray Odierno and Army Secretary John McHugh appeared before the House Armed Services Committee Thursday and were bombarded by a string of attacks from Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr., R-Calif. At issue was Distributed Common Ground System, a computer intelligence system, according to Business Insider.

“We’ve talked in the past … about this Distributed Common Ground System, it’s the Army’s intelligence gathering software product that is out there,” Hunter said. ” … you still have units that are requesting the … product that are not getting it.”

Hunter criticized the current system and pushed to have it replaced by “off-the-shelf products” currently available in the private sector.

Being dressed down by civilian authority is nothing new to career military officers — it happens every day. But what really fried the general’s shorts was the total disrespect Hunter displayed by getting up to leave after finishing his harangue.

That’s when another snoozer of a committee hearing turned into the Fourth of July.

“May we respond? I think I heard a question,” McHugh asked the chairman.

“Well, I don’t want to respond if the gentleman’s [Hunter] going to leave. Would you care to hear a brief response?” asked the committee chair.

Not waiting for Hunter’s answer, Odierno let loose.

“First off, I object to this,” the chief of staff said. “I’m tired of somebody telling me I don’t care about our soldiers, and we don’t respond. Everybody on my staff cares about it, and they do all they can to help.”

Watch the full exchange below, beginning at about the 2:50 mark. Don’t be confused by the nameplate that seems to appear in front of Duncan. Because of the camera angle, it’s picking up that of the congressman to his left.

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