Joint Chiefs chairman confronts Army challenges at Fort Riley

More coverage of Admiral Mike Mullen’s visit to Army bases in Kansas:The Washington Post: “FORT RILEY, Kan., Oct. 24 — The United States’ exit from Iraq and Afghanistan depends on stepping up U.S. advising of those nations’ security forces, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday as he visited military training teams preparing to deploy.”‘It’s the way out, no question, in both countries,’ Mullen told Lt. Col. Geoffrey D. Ellerson, whose 11-man training team will leave in three weeks for a year-long tour in a volatile region of Iraq east of Baghdad. ‘I can’t overstate the importance’ of the teams, he said. “One challenge to expanding the advisory effort, however, is attracting highly qualified Army officers to leave traditional career paths to join the teams, which some see as hurting their chances for promotion, according to several officers interviewed this week.”;We have to have certain jobs to be competitive.’ said Maj. Jason Jones, one of a group of Army majors attending school at Fort Leavenworth who voiced reluctance to join the training teams. ‘That takes me out of the cycle. In essence, it sort of hurts you,’ Jones said.The Topeka Capital-Journal: Two hundred sergeants went one-on-one Wednesday with the nation’s top military commander at a town-hall gathering that exposed troop anxiety about conflicts beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, one month into a new assignment as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked to consider whether the U.S. military should reach inside Iran to interrupt the supply of insurgent forces in Iraq. President Bush also has denounced development of nuclear weapons by Iran. “I’m not one to take military options off the table,” Mullen said. “However, I’m a firm believer they should be options of last resort. I’d worry a great deal about getting into a conflict with a third country in that part of the world right now.”