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Updated: May 30, 2011 20:58 IST

Obama chooses Dempsey to be next Joint Chiefs head

AP
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U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey speaks to family members of fallen service members at a Tragedy Assistance Programme for Survivors seminar. File photo: AP.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey speaks to family members of fallen service members at a Tragedy Assistance Programme for Survivors seminar. File photo: AP.

Mr. Obama called Gen. Dempsey "one of our nation’s most respected and combat—tested generals."

President Barack Obama announced Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as his choice to succeed Adm. Mike Mullen as chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday, rounding out an overhaul of his national security team in his third year in office.

Marine Gen. James Cartwright had long been rumoured to be Mr. Obama’s favourite, and the president singled him out for praise during Monday’s White House announcement. But he turned instead to Gen. Dempsey, an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war, to succeed Adm. Mullen.

Mr. Obama called Gen. Dempsey “one of our nation’s most respected and combat—tested generals.”

The president also announced he has chosen Navy Adm. James Winnefeld to succeed Cartwright as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Army Gen. Ray Odierno as his candidate to replace Gen. Dempsey as Army chief of staff.

The nominees have to be approved by the Senate, and Mr. Obama voiced hope that could happen in a timely fashion.

Mr. Obama called America’s servicemen and women “the best our nation has to offer, and they deserve nothing but the best in return, and that includes leaders.”

The president earlier decided to send CIA Director Leon Panetta to the Pentagon to succeed Robert Gates as defence secretary and chose Afghanistan war commander Gen. David Petraeus to replace Mr. Panetta at the CIA. Both of those men, too, will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

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