Veteran US Army General to Become New Joint Chiefs Chairman

Posted September 30th, 2011 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey will be sworn as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Friday.

President Barack Obama will be in attendance when the 37-year veteran becomes the nation's top uniformed officer, replacing retiring Navy Admiral Mike Mullen. Mr. Obama nominated Dempsey to succeed Mullen in May, only a month after Dempsey assumed the post of chief of staff of the Army.

Dempsey's career includes two tours of duty in Iraq, and serving as acting commander of all military operations in the Middle East.

Dempsey is moving into his new role at a time when the military is facing deep budget cuts to help trim the massive U.S. debt. During his confirmation hearing last month, he warned lawmakers that cuts of $800 billion or more would be “extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.”

The president has asked the Defense Department to cut $400 billion from its budget over the next 12 years.

Dempsey is also taking over amid strained U.S. relations with Pakistan over that country's apparent failure to dismantle Islamic extremist groups. Mullen recently described the Haqqani terrorist network as a “veritable arm” of Pakistan's intelligence agency.