Monday, May 30, 2011

Obama picks Dempsey as top military officer

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday nominated General Martin Dempsey, who commanded troops in the Iraq war, as the top U.S. military officer.

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

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 U.S. troops, Obama vowed: "We will provide whatever it takes to achieve our objectives in the current fight."


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