Iran has reportedly threatened to attack an Army base Fort McNair in Washington, DC and kill Gen. Joseph M. Martin in a USS Cole-style attack.
The National Security Agency intercepted communications in January indicating that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard discussed carrying out an assault against Fort McNair to kill Martin, the Army’s vice chief of staff, the Associated Press reported on Sunday citing senior intelligence officials.
The NSC picked up the chatter among members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force discussing how to avenge the killing of Gen. Quassem Soleimani, Iran’s top military leader, by the US in January 2020. In October 2000, Al Qaeda terrorists in a small boat pulled up alongside the Navy destroyer USS Cole as it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden and set off explosives, killing 17 sailors.
Fort McNair is Martin’s official residence. Intercepted communications revealed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard discussed an attack against Fort McNair to kill Martin. Reuters Army officials have been asking DC to expand a buffer zone along the Washington Channel that runs parallel to the Potomac River to increase security, but have run into opposition from city leaders. Army Maj. Gen. Omar Jones, commander of the Military District of Washington, said there were “credible and specific” threats against top military officials who live on the base. The threats are one reason the Army has been pushing for more security around Fort McNair, which sits alongside Washington’s bustling newly developed Waterfront District.
The Washington Channel is the site of one of the city’s major urban renewal efforts, with new restaurants, luxury housing and concert venues. The waterway flows from the point where the city’s two major rivers, the Potomac and Anacostia, meet. It’s home to three marinas and hundreds of boat slips. About 300 people live aboard their boats in the channel, according to Patrick Revord, who is the director of technology, marketing and community engagement for the Wharf Community Association. The channel also bustles with water taxis, which serve 300,000 people each year, river cruises that host 400,000 people a year and about 7,000 kayakers and paddleboarders annually.
Gen. Joseph M. Martin assumed duties as the 37th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, July 26, 2019.
Martin graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986 and commissioned as an armor officer. He has served in a variety of troop assignments. From 1987 to 1990, he served as a tank platoon leader, scout platoon leader, and company executive officer in the 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division. Upon graduation from the Armor Officer Advanced Course, Martin was assigned to 4th Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, where he commanded Company B during Operation Desert Storm and at Fort Riley, Kansas. He then commanded the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Ba’Qubah, Iraq and at Fort Hood, Texas. Martin commanded the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas, and deployed with that command to serve in northwest Baghdad, Iraq. Following brigade command, he became the chief of staff of III Corps in Fort Hood, Texas. From June 2012 to April 2013, Martin commanded the U.S. Army Operational Test Command. Martin served as deputy commanding general (Maneuver) for 1st Cavalry Division, commanding general of National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, and commanding general of 1st Infantry Division, where he deployed and commanded the Combined Joint Force Land Component Command in Operation Inherent Resolve. His most recent assignment was the director of the Army Staff.
Martin’s key staff assignments have included observer controller, Fort Irwin, California, instructor/writer and aide to the commanding general at the U.S. Armor Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He also served as a battalion operations officer, aide to the III Corps commanding general and brigade operations Officer at Fort Hood, Texas. Additionally, Martin served as the armor branch chief and chief of the Maneuver, Fires and Effects Division, at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Virginia. He also served as the Initiatives Group director for the commander, U.S. Forces Iraq and U.S. Joint Forces Command.
Martin holds a master’s in education from the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the United States Army War College.
Martin’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device. He also earned the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge.