Gen. Martin E. Dempsey was confirmed by the Senate Aug. 2 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Raymond T. Odierno was confirmed to assume Dempsey’s post as Army chief of staff.
Dempsey, after serving only five months as the Army’s chief of staff, will assume his new position when Adm. Mike Mullen retires Sept. 30.
Odierno, who currently serves as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which is being deactivated, will assume his new job Oct. 1.
Both were nominated by President Barack Obama at a Memorial Day White House news conference.
Obama said during his announcement of these personnel changes, that Dempsey’s tenure as chief of staff "may go down as one of the shortest in Army history," adding that during his 36 years in the military, Dempsey has become one of the nation’s most respected and combat-tested generals.
At the Senate confirmation hearing, Sen. John McCain called Odierno, "one of the finest military officers I have had the opportunity to know."
McCain explained that Odierno was responsible, along with Gen. David Petraeus, for implementing the surge in Iraq.
"All of us who have had the opportunity of knowing General Odierno are proud of his new position and know he will carry out his responsibilities with the same outstanding leadership and efficiency he has displayed in the past," McCain said.
The debt-ceiling bill also passed by Congress Aug. 2 included $2.1 trillion in deficit cuts over the next decade and also called for a bipartisan committee to come up with at least another $1.2 trillion in cuts by the end of the year or automatic cuts would be triggered, possibly affecting defense programs across the board.
At his Senate confirmation hearing, Dempsey warned lawmakers against cutting too much from the nation’s military budget, saying that cuts of $800 billion or more would be "extraordinarily difficult and very high risk."
During his nomination as the 38th chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Odierno testified July 21 in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee that he is "proud to be part of this Army with the opportunity to serve with these great men and women."
He expressed concerns, however, with budget cuts.
"First off, the Army is about soldiers," he said, "so, when we talk about defense cuts, you’re talking about structure, you’re talking about the end strength of the Army."
Adding, "We must avoid our historical pattern of drawing down too fast and getting too small, especially since our record of predicting the future has not been very good."
Also receiving Senate confirmation was Army Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby. He will pin on a fourth star and become commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Jacoby most recently completed his tour as commanding general, I Corps, including a combat tour in Iraq serving as the commanding general, Multi-National Corps – Iraq. (ANS)