Commander of Army Combined Arms Center: Who is Robert Caslen, Jr.?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
In March 2010, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Robert L. “Bob” Caslen, Jr. took over as commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, which oversees the Command and General Staff College and 17 other schools, centers and training programs located throughout the United States. Caslen has been involved in most of the Army’s high-profile missions during the last twenty years, including the Gulf War, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the overseeing of foreign detainees. He also violated Army regulations by appearing in a fundraising video for a Christian organization
Born in 1953, Caslen grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts. His father, Robert Caslen Sr., who also served in the Army, was a school principal, an executive chef and a restaurant owner. Caslen Jr. graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975. For two years, he played center on the Army football team. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Long Island University and a Master of Science degree from Kansas State University.
During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991, Caslen served as executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Later, he was brigade operations officer, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); J-3 in Honduras for Joint Task Force Bravo in 1998; executive officer to the deputy commander in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy in 1994-1995; commander of the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (Light); senior brigade C2 observer/controller, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center; chief of staff of the 101st Airborne Division; and commander of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (1999)
On September 11, 2001, he was an assistant deputy director of strategic planning and policy, stationed at the Pentagon. He helped search for people who were wounded in the terrorist attack and, according to his family, is credited with reversing the building’s air-conditioning system to suck out the smoke.
In 2002, Caslen served in Afghanistan as chief of staff of the Combined Joint Task Force Mountain during Operation Enduring Freedom.
His other deployments and assignments include chief of staff of the 10th Mountain Division (Light) (2003) preparing troops at Fort Drum for urban warfare; assistant division commander (Maneuver) of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) (2004); deputy director for the War on Terrorism, J-5, the Joint Staff (2005-June 2006); director of the Joint Staff's Detainee Affairs Division and commandant of cadets for the Military Academy at West Point, a post he left in May 2008.
In 2007, Caslen was one of several military commanders criticized by the Department of Defense’s inspector general for improperly participating in a fundraising video for the Christian Embassy, an evangelical Christian group. His endorsement of the organization, while in uniform and in the Pentagon, was considered a violation of Pentagon ethics rules, specifically JER Section 3-300.a.
At the time of the filming, in early fall 2004, he was Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs for the War on Terrorism, Directorate for Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff. Caslen, wearing his Army uniform including brigadier general rank epaulettes, appeared in three scenes. In one he states, “I'll see a brother in the Lord from these Flag fellowship groups, and I immediately feel like I'm being held accountable because we're the aroma of Jesus Christ." In the end, Caslen apologized, blamed others for misleading him into believing that his actions were acceptable, and was not punished.
In May 2008, Caslen assumed command of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) in Hawaii. In November 2008, he deployed to Iraq to serve as commanding general of the Multi-National Division–North, in charge of coalition troops in Iraq’s seven northernmost provinces.
In December 2009, Caslen was promoted to lieutenant general in conjunction with his nomination to be commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Caslen and his wife Michele have three sons, Robert III, Nicholas and Jeffrey.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Robert Caslen Biography (U.S. Army) (pdf)
Officers' Roles in Christian Video Are Called Ethics Breach (by Josh White, Washington Post)
Alleged Misconduct by DOD Officials Concerning Christian Embassy (inspector General, Department of Defense) (pdf)
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