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Joint Chiefs - From war room to board room

By Gary Jacobson

July 6, 2007 at 6:01pm

Don’t cry for Gen. Peter Pace. Or, Adm. Ed Giambastiani.

When they soon leave as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they will likely have ample opportunity to make big money in the private sector.

Consider Richard Myers, who preceded Pace as chairman. The retired Air Force general received a total of nearly $800,000 in cash, stock and other compensation last year as a director of four publicly traded companies, according to SEC filings. He is also a professor of military history at Kansas State.

Myers is a director of Aon, Deere & Co., United Technologies and Northrop Grumman.

Gen. Joseph Ralston, a former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs who retired in 2003, received a total of more than $640,000 last year as a director of URS, Lockheed Martin and Timken, according to SEC filings.

He is also a director of privately held Cohen Group, headed by former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Cohen Group is a consulting and lobbying firm.

In addition, both Myers and Ralston are eligible for military retirement pay. Retired military leaders have big-time corporate Muckety. Former members of the Joint Chiefs currently sit on many other company boards, including Anheuser-Busch, Union Pacific, ConocoPhillips and Phelps Dodge.

Military pay doesn’t match the private sector. But it is increasing. In April, the base salaries of Pace and Giambastiani went from $15,959 a month to $17,972, which totals about $215,000 a year.

Last month, defense secretary Robert Gates said he would not re-nominate Pace for another term as chairman because his confirmation process would be a “divisive ordeal.” Pace, who was vice chairman for four years before becoming chair in 2005, has not indicated his future plans. Giambastiani said he is retiring.

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