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Monday
May302011

Obama Appoints Martin Dempsey as Joint Chiefs Chairman

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a hurry for what he called a "seamless" transition during wartime,  President Obama has nominated more promotions from within as he reshapes his military team, choosing four-star Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Martin Dempsey is one of our nation's most respected -- and combat-tested generals," the president declared in a Rose Garden announcement Monday. "I expect him to push all our forces to continue adapting and innovating to be ready for the missions of today and tomorrow."

Dempsey had just moved into the office of the Army Chief of Staff, a job that will now go to former Iraq commander Gen. Ray Odierno, who stood at attention in Monday's ceremony.

The president called Odierno "one of the Army’s most accomplished soldiers -- and one of the tallest.”

Navy Adm. James "Sandy" Winnefeld was nominated to be Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs.

The current team, Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Vice Chair Marine Gen. James Cartwright, do not retire for several months but President Obama says he's in a hurry.

"It's essential this transition be seamless and that we remain focused on the urgent national security challenges before us," he said.

The president wants a new team in place when he begins to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in July. These new appointments move the president closer to having his national security team in place as he runs for re-election next year. Dempsey will need Senate confirmation.

Last month, CIA head Leon Panetta was nominated to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates when he retires. Gen. David Petraeus is slated to take over Panetta’s post at the CIA.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio