President Barack Obama is expected to introduce Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as his choice to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a Rose Garden announcement Monday.
Dempsey is an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war. He would
succeed Navy Adm. Mike Mullen as the president's top military
adviser when Mullen's term ends Sept. 30. Dempsey would need Senate confirmation.
Two people familiar with the selection process told The Associated Press of Obama's choice last week. They spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced by the White House.
Mullen, appearing on a morning network news show, declined to
comment, saying "the president is the one that makes all the
selections for these senior appointments and just like you, I await
that announcement." Mullen said he's heard the speculation, "But
I certainly don't want to get out in front of the president."
Dempsey began a four-year term as Army chief of staff on April
11. Army Gen. Ray Odierno is expected to replace Dempsey as Army
chief. Odierno is currently in charge of the U.S. Joint Forces
Appearing in a nationally broadcast interview Monday morning,
Mullen said he's encouraged that the Pakistani government is
launching a major offensive on militants in the North Waziristan
area near the border with Pakistan. "It's a very important fight
and a very important operation," he said.
Mullen also said he has perceived strong support among the
American people for American servicemen and women and said he's
grateful for that. He said he doesn't want to see a "disconnect"
between the uniformed men and women and the population at large.
Asked if a change of guard at the Joint Chiefs means a change of
strategy in Afghanistan, he replied, "We obviously have added
these forces ... and we've really seen progress on the security
side. ... We will sustain losses as we have in the last few days.
... That said, I am confident that by the end of the year, we'll be
in a much, much better position."
He said he hopes the public understands "the depth of
sacrifice" made by servicemen and women.
Mullen appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The
Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show.
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