It’s official: Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been pushed out as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The move follows a controversial interview he gave to Rolling Stone in which he chides several higher-ups in the administration including the president, vice president and members of the national security team, not to mention foreign dignitaries.
In announcing the decision, President Obama praised McChrystal’s service to the country until this point, but said that ultimately, “the conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.”
This may not be the way McChrystal saw his career heading, but don’t feel too sorry for him. Ultimately, he may still have positive prospects down the road. “I think he’ll do pretty well for himself,” said Michael Noonan, the managing director of the program on national security studies at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a nonprofit organization. “He’s definitely not kryptonite at this point.”
According to Noonan, McChrystal essentially has two options. “One is to buy a ranch or farm someplace and just kick back, but from his temperament I don’t see that as really being an option,” he said. Instead, it’s likely that McChrystal will seek a prestigious but lower profile position in the private sector. Here are a few possibilities:
The military sometimes brings back retired officers to serve as advisers to current members of the armed forces. According to Noonan, their job is to consult on war games, current operations and general strategy. This position may be a particularly good fit for McChrystal who, despite his recent blunders, is known for being a savvy strategist. And if he needs an added incentive, this job pays extraordinarily well. USA Today notes that mentors typically earn between $200-$350 an hour, plus excellent benefits. This pay is commensurate with experience, which McChrystal has in spades.