by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 29, 2011
US Army General Martin Dempsey, a former English literature teacher who commanded an armored division in key battles in Iraq, was expected to be named new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday, a US source said.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said President Barack Obama was "expected" to promote Dempsey to the top uniformed military job on Memorial Day, the annual holiday set aside to remember America's war dead.
The White House earlier issued an advisory saying the president, who is on his way back from Europe, would make Department of Defense "personnel announcements" in the White House Rose Garden.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon will attend the ceremony, the release said.
Dempsey had been considered the most likely candidate to succeed the outgoing holder of the US military's top job, Admiral Mike Mullen, after Obama's "favorite general" James Cartwright was passed over amid concerns over his standing among fellow officers.
Nominating Dempsey would be an unusual move and suggested that earlier plans were scrapped, given that the four-star army general took over as chief of the US Army only in April.
Dempsey served in the Iraq war, commanding the 1st Armored Division in Iraq in 2003-04, and later led training efforts for Iraqi forces.
The search for a successor to Mullen as the president's top military adviser highlights uneasy relations between civilians in Obama's White House and top officers, who have clashed over the war in Afghanistan.
The next chairman of the Joint Chiefs will form part of a new national security team under Obama that will have to contend with the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan, turmoil in the Middle East and mounting pressure on the defense budget.
In April, Obama nominated CIA director Leon Panetta to take over as defense secretary and Afghan war commander General David Petraeus to succeed Panetta at the spy agency.
Media reports said the current chief of the air force, General Norton Schwartz, was a top contender to succeed Cartwright as the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The nominations all must be confirmed by the Senate.
Cartwright, a technology-savvy Marine currently serving as vice chairman, has been described as the president's preferred general who drew up an alternative plan in 2009 for the war in Afghanistan, breaking ranks with senior military leaders who were pushing for a large surge of US troops.
Obama in the end agreed to most of what the military asked for, ordering 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. But Cartwright emerged as a favorite of a White House team that had sharply disagreed with other military leaders over Afghan strategy, including Mullen, the current chairman.
As a result of Cartwright's role in the Afghan strategy sessions and other episodes, some officers concluded he was not a "team player," raising potential questions about whether he would enjoy the confidence of senior officers, officials and analysts said.
Cartwright, known for his expertise on missile defense and cyber warfare, had once been seen as the likely successor to Mullen -- whose four-year tenure ends in September. But speculation has mounted in recent weeks that he would be passed over.
Last month, the White House announced nominations for the next defense secretary and Afghan commander but not for the chairman's job.
An investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general in February cleared Cartwright of allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a junior officer.
The probe found no evidence of a romantic relationship prohibited under military rules, but it did criticize the general for failing to discipline the woman after she passed out drunk on a bench in his hotel room during a work trip.
Some officials said the episode investigated by the inspector general was not a crucial factor in the decision not to nominate Cartwright.
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
US House wants sailors back from Libya after 207 years
Washington (AFP) May 26, 2011
The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to repatriate from Libya the remains of 13 navy commandos killed in 1804 during the First Barbary War and buried in mass graves in Tripoli. The measure, an amendment to a $690 billion defense bill, passed by voice vote. But it acknowledged that no action should be taken until the end of the current war in Libya pitting loyalist troops against re ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|