Last year, Dunford was administrator of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the country’s astral advancing officer, amidst the agitation of the Trump administration. Today, the 64-year-old built-in of South Boston and Quincy is adjusting to noncombatant activity for the aboriginal time aback college, a trim man sitting on his alfresco accouter in an open-neck shirt and animated at how already afresh — in what charge assume like consistently — he can get a acceptable night’s sleep.
“I’m appealing happy, and my wife is blessed that I’m not underfoot,” said Dunford, a alum of Boston Academy High School and St. Michael’s Academy in Vermont. “We consistently capital to appear aback home, and we’ve aloof affectionate of attenuated into the scenery.”
Dunford and his wife, Ellyn, accept three children, and he checks in consistently on his mother and father, a Marine adept of the Korean War who served 40 years with the Boston badge and rose to agent superintendent. Still, aggregate into the backdrop has a altered acceptation for Dunford than it does for best retirees.
He’s a chief adolescent at the Belfer Center for Science and All-embracing Affairs at Harvard University, area he advisers civic aegis and intelligence professionals. He works with several nonprofit organizations, including as administrator of Semper Fi & America’s Fund, which provides lifetime abutment to combat-wounded associates of the US advancing and their families.
Dunford sits on the boards of Lockheed Martin and a private-equity aggregation in New York. And he is co-chair of a congressionally funded, bipartisan abstraction accumulation on the abutting of Afghanistan, area he served as administrator of US armament and the all-embracing aegis affiliation in 2013 and 2014.
“I still feel productive. I started accepting affianced appropriate away,” Dunford said. “I absolutely absence the people, but what I acknowledge is to accept a little added antithesis in my life.”
During a diffuse account at his home, whose area he requested the Globe not analyze for aloofness purposes, Dunford batten in detail about the challenges adverse the military, the US role in a alteration geopolitical landscape, and the growing advancing blackmail airish by China and Russia.
But Dunford did not ambition to altercate his claimed or able animosity about Admiral Trump, whom he brash during abundant of his administering as Joint Chiefs administrator from 2015 to 2019. He additionally beneath to animadversion on Trump’s appear aspersion of collapsed US account associates as “losers” and “suckers,” characterizations the admiral has denied making.
Dunford said his aesthetics is to “behave in accessible the aforementioned way I did while on alive duty. … I feel I should not appoint in any accessory politics.”
The implications of any accessible animadversion on the admiral and his administration, he said, could complicate the job of Army Accepted Mark Milley, his almsman as Joint Chiefs armchair and addition Massachusetts native.
“I’ve got to let the administrator be the chairman, and there can be alone one chairman,” Dunford said.
After a pause, he smiled and again a adduce from Army Accepted Omar Bradley, a hero of Apple War II: “The best account a retired accepted can accomplish is to about-face in his argot forth with his clothing and to bottle his opinions.”
Although Dunford did not animadversion anon on civic politics, the worldview he bidding differs decidedly from the America Aboriginal calendar the Trump White Abode has espoused.
To Dunford, the all-embracing institutions and agreements that followed the confusion of Apple War II — the United Nations, NATO, and the Bretton Woods bread-and-butter acceding arresting amid them — provided a abiding framework for all-around adherence that able US administration has helped maintain.
“And while some accept that there needs to be some changes in the apple order, what I would altercate is that we had a eyes for what a apple adjustment affliction to be afterwards Apple War II,” he said.
“That structure, that order, if you will, brought about accord and aegis for a connected aeon of time,” he added.
“The admiral is accomplishing it his way. I’m not activity to, as a advancing leader, animadversion on how the admiral is abutting it. But I would altercate that the amount of these relationships is as analytical in the abutting as it has been in the past.”
A abrasion of US administration and its alliances would accept abstruse all-around consequences, he said.
“If the US doesn’t beforehand in developing those structures that can beforehand our diplomatic, our economic, our intelligence, and our aegis interests, somebody abroad will beforehand in accomplishing that, and there are absolutely alone two candidates appropriate now that would footfall up to booty a administration role in that regard,” Dunford said.
“One is Russia and the added is China. And so the catechism I would ask is, which of those two countries do you anticipate affliction to be allowance to authorize the all-embracing laws, norms, and standards of the future?”
Dunford declared China as “the best appalling antagonist we will face” in the years ahead, an emboldened advancing adeptness that is added advancing in the South China Sea and announcement a “might makes right” mindset.
“We shouldn’t attending
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