Obama picks Dempsey as top US military officer

US president makes selection to replace Admiral Mike Mullen as Joint Chiefs of Staff when he steps down on Oct. 1; Senate must confirm appointment.

May 30, 2011 18:18
1 minute read.
Martin Dempsey, expected to lead US military

Martin Dempsey 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Monday nominated General Martin Dempsey, who commanded troops in the Iraq war, as the top US military officer.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Dempsey would replace Admiral Mike Mullen as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he steps down on Oct. 1.

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At a White House ceremony, Obama hailed Dempsey as "one of our nation's respected and combat-tested generals."

Obama made the choice for the high-profile post just before heading to Arlington Cemetery for a Memorial Day event to honor America's war dead.

The selection comes as Obama is facing growing pressure to accelerate a troop drawdown in Afghanistan and is preparing to complete a withdrawal from Iraq.

Echoing remarks Dempsey himself recently made to US troops, Obama vowed: "We will provide whatever it takes to achieve our objectives in the current fight."

Dempsey is currently Army chief of staff. Obama said he was naming General Raymond Odierno to succeed Dempsey in that job.

Admiral James Winnefeld, commander of US Northern Command, was nominated as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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