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Dempsey to be next US Joint Chiefs head

[ 2011-06-01 11:24]     字号 [] [] []  
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US President Barack Obama moved on Monday to complete an overhaul of his national security team, selecting Army General Martin Dempsey as the next Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman amid a winding down of the war in Iraq, protracted battle in Afghanistan and US assistance to the NATO-led effort against Libya's Muammar Gadhafi.

Obama announced a new line-up of his top military leadership group at the White House just before paying tribute to the nation's war dead at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington.

The announcements on Monday, the Memorial Day holiday in the US, had been expected, although there was no immediate indication what the military leadership moves might imply for possible changes in military policy.

Already, the president had turned, in late April, to CIA Director Leon Panetta to succeed Robert Gates and secretary of defense and chose to move Army General David Petraeus from his command of the Afghanistan war effort to the United States to replace Panetta at the CIA.

Marine General James Cartwright had long been rumored to be Obama's favorite, and the president singled him out for praise at the announcement. But he turned instead to Dempsey, an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war, to succeed Admiral Mike Mullen as his top military adviser, calling the Army officer "one of our nation's most respected and combat-tested generals".

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

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

At the White House, 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".

Later on, Obama placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the venerable Arlington burial grounds. And in a speech at the Arlington amphitheater in front of a flag-draped wall, the president, who had met earlier in the day with families of troops killed in war, said: "To those of you mourn the loss of a loved one today, my heart goes out to you."

"We remember that the blessings that we enjoy as Americans came at a dear cost," he said.

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we cannot ever fully repay. But we can honor their sacrifice, and we must."

Preceding Obama, Gates said the country "must never forget" its men and women in the military.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Dempsey to be next US Joint Chiefs head

About the broadcaster:

Dempsey to be next US Joint Chiefs head

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.