Obama nominates Dempsey to chair Joint Chiefs

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President Obama used Memorial Day to make major personnel changes in the military today, tapping Army Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey, a soldier for four decades and a prominent leader of the Iraq war, is “one of our nation’s most respected, combat-tested generals,” Obama said at a White House ceremony.

Obama told Dempsey and other military leaders that “we have much to do,” including a withdrawal of some US troops from Afghanistan, winding down the war in Iraq, and the ongoing NATO military operation in Libya.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dempsey would replace current Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen, whose term expires on September 30. Obama also nominated Navy Admiral James Winnefeld to be vice chair of the Joint Chiefs.