Joe held the medal around his neck and gave a silent prayer for peace. Peace of mind. He turned back to the receiver pressed against his chest and sighed. "I'll keep you updated, but we'll need to meet immediately after we've covered matters today, so don't let anyone get too far." He paused and listened. "Yes, tell him I appreciate the prompt response and will be in touch shortly. You've done a great job Jake." General Edwards placed the phone down and rubbed his bare scalp. Lt. General Jacob Chambers was one of the highest ranking officers in the United States Military, yet as the Director of the Joint Staff, he was a glorified secretary. Joe smiled. Despite this, the DJS position was one of the most coveted posts among the top brass for its role as a stepping stone to a four star promotion.
Joe had chosen Jake for the role due to his impressive organizational abilities and for the respect that those of higher authority held for him. It took a strength of character to manage some of the biggest egos in the armed forces. Joe knew he couldn't hold him forever, but at the moment, he was invaluable.
The prior briefing at the Pentagon had been a tense affair to say the least. The Joint Chiefs had agreed, with Joe's final approval, to raise the alert system to Defcon 3--a status that hadn't been reached since the September 11th attacks. Some had argued for higher, while others had disagreed that this situation warranted any sort of raised alert at all. In the end, they had all come to a consensus, something that Joe was unwilling disband the meeting without. Indecisiveness and hand-wringing was the last thing the country needed.
He alerted Abe and AJ immediately and had spoken to Bill not long afterward. By now, everyone who needed to know, should know.
After a short discussion with the Air Force Chief of Staff, he received a cliff notes summary of their current SAM and ABM capabilities courtesy of the Missile Defense Agency.
Joe listened to the discussion while absently staring at colored bands attached to the breast of his jacket. He was able to better grasp the conversation if he held his gaze on something neutral. He flipped through the binder in front of him, and noted that Mike had included his own report in time for the meeting. He wasn't especially familiar with Gerard, but he seemed to be quite capable...whatever his politics.
Joe coughed and organized his thoughts. "As most of you know, we've issued an order to raise the current alert status to Defcon 3. Being placed on such high alert, I would recommend opening a dialogue in an attempt to dampen any foreign concerns of hostile US action. If we are to take point on this, excluding anyone of significance from this conversation might be a misstep." With that, his piece was said. In a meeting with the President and Secretary of Defense, he could afford to be more direct about his opinion. In this situation, his was just one of many, and he would defer to whatever judgement the collective formed.