THE PENTAGON — Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford recently retired after 42 years of military service, but he won’t be putting the Pentagon in his rear view mirror just yet. Sources close to President Donald Trump report he is considering hiring Dunford as Secretary of Defense and promptly firing him, in keeping with recent tradition.
Dunford, who famously earned the nickname “Fighting Joe” for the effort he made to avoid Pentagon assignments, seems to be ready to accept his fate.
He said of his retirement, “I hoped to spend some quiet time with the family, catch a few Red Sox games, and keep up with my fitness. I’d also like to get my tour as Secretary of Defense over with as quickly as possible, so I can finally live in peace.”
He also added that he expects he’s already on the short list for the position, stating that he would be “unbelievably lucky” if that wasn’t the case.
Sources at the White House showed more enthusiasm.
“Esper is fine and all, but he’s already been in for a few months and we’re expecting a slip-up any day now,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “As soon as he’s out, we expect Dunford’s constitutionally mandated 7-year waiting period to be waived by Congress so he can come back where he belongs.”
Many Defense Department officials believe that Dunford could last as many as two or even three months in office. Dunford, however, says such a long assignment is out of the question.
“My former boss Jim Mattis said it best,” said Dunford. “Always strive to take care of your people and do the right thing, and you’ll be out the door just as quick as you came in. That’s what I intend to do, and hopefully it gets me back to retirement quickly.”
For now, Dunford counts his blessings and says farewell to the Pentagon. On his way out, he told his successor Gen. Mark Milley that he looks forward to being his ex-boss again soon.