WASHINGTON - General David Petraeus warned against sacrificing US military capabilities to ease America's budget woes, as he retired from the Army on Wednesday ahead of becoming CIA director.
Petraeus, 58, rose through the ranks to become arguably the US military's brightest star, credited for helping to turn around the Iraq war and for helping to halt the momentum of Taliban militants in Afghanistan. He led US troops in both conflicts and briefly oversaw the entire the region as head of the US military's Central Command.
"Dave has, over the last decade, advised two Presidents, changed the course of two wars, transformed our military, and perhaps most important of all, reminded Americans once again, that with the right ideas and the right leadership, almost anything is possible," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the retirement ceremony.
Mullen added: "Afghanistan is now a more secure and hopeful place than a year ago."
At the CIA, Petraeus will replace Leon Panetta, who became US defense secretary. He will be sworn in on Sept. 6.