Mattis taps former Army colonel for defense position

One of the more important national security jobs in Washington, D.C. — Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for South and Southeast Asia — will be filled by a former Army officer with extensive foreign affairs and counterinsurgency experience, reports Breaking Defense.

Retired Col. Joe Felter, who now works at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, “led the International Security and Assistance Force, Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team, in Afghanistan, reporting directly to Generals Stanley McChrystal and and David Petraeus and advising them on counterinsurgency strategy,” his bio says.

According to Breaking Defense, he also performed counterterrorism work in the Philippines, experience that may be crucial in coping with the unpredictable populist, Rodrigo Duterte.

Mattis reportedly knows him well, so he’ll be able to reach out to him should it become necessary and has that extra credibility going in.

U.S. Marine military police conduct immediate action drills alongside Philippine Marines at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Philippines, Oct. 7, 2016. (Photo and cutline: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tiffany Edwards)

Felter’s nomination would mark the addition of another American soldier whose primary experiences are in counterterrorism, which, while sometimes global in reach, is largely confined to certain regions and rarely requires knowledge or experience of great power politics.

This new job does.

Felter’s new job copes with an immense swath of geography and enormous challenges:

South and Southeast Asia (SSEA): India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Diego Garcia, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Island nations.

He’s familiar with quite a few of the region’s hottest spots, having “conducted foreign internal defense and security assistance missions across East and Southeast Asia,” the Hoover bio says.

The Chinese will be watching Felter closely as he will be the lead in the Pentagon on India, Australia, Vietnam, and a host of other countries warily watching the rising Pacific power.

TOP ARTICLES
Enlisted pilots could fly in combat for the first time since WWII

A number of reasons for pilot shortage include quality-of-life issues, recruitment by private airlines, and the strain of three decades of combat.

Everything you need to know about the Merchant Marine

The United States Merchant Marine is not a military service, but without it, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps couldn't go anywhere.

That time 'Fighting Dick' fought 'Fightin' Dick' at Antietam

Rarely will a moniker be used for two military leader at the same time. Even more rare is if the two meet on opposite ends of the battlefield.

6 ways you can tell a troop isn't an infantryman

Enter any base you may wonder which one of the troops fight in combat vs. those who ship off to support the war effort Well; we've got you covered. 

British Paratroopers and Gurkhas got into a huge battle royale in Kenya

A force-on-force exercise is under investigation for "descending into chaos" as some of the UK's best troops fought each other with fists and clubs.

This insane anti-aircraft gun chased the Israelis out of the sky

With four radar-guided 23mm cannon, the ZSU-23-4 Shilka could hit an aircraft almost two miles away hard with up to 1,000 rounds a minute.

7 military nicknames that are definitely not compliments

If you've got a nickname, you're either high enough rank to have earned one, you're a pilot, or you did something dumb enough to earn one of these.

8 Things your civilian resume needs to have right now

Checklists make life easier. This checklist will help you avoid some common pitfalls veterans make when trying to land that first job when they get out.

Why so many in the military are getting STDs

Cases of sexually transmitted diseases areon the rise across the U.S., but it's three to six times more common among troops. Let's talk about why.

This is why Yemen is a constant war zone

The situation in Yemen is more dire than previously understood, with a child dying every 10 minutes from hunger after Saudi Arabia enforced a blockade.