President nominates Odierno for Army chief 


Odierno in Iraq 
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno is known for overseeing the transition from surge to stability operations in Iraq from September 2008 to September 2010.

President Barack Obama announced May 30 that he will nominate Gen. Raymond T. Odierno as the next Army chief of staff.

Obama also announced he will nominate Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the Army’s current chief of staff, to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey is expected to replace Adm. Mike Mullen when his term as chairman ends, Sept. 30.

If the Senate approves the nominations, Odierno – known for overseeing the transition from surge to stability operations in Iraq from September 2008 to September 2010 – will replace Dempsey as the chief of the staff after just five months of holding the Army’s highest military position.

Dempsey became the 37th Army chief of staff on April 11.

While Dempsey will have served just over five months as the chief of staff of the Army, his term in the position is not the shortest among Army chiefs. That record is held by Lt. Gen. John C. Bates, who served from Jan. 15, 1906 to April 13, 1906, serving just under three months in the position.

Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., president of the Association of the United States Army, said of both nominations, "Our nation and the members of our armed forces and their families will be well served by General Dempsey as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is an exceptional leader, visionary and battle-tested warrior.

"General Odierno will bring his unique talents and combat experiences to this challenging position as Army chief of staff. He will be a dynamic leader for our Army during these difficult and complex times.

"On behalf of our over 100,000 members, AUSA looks forward to working with both General Dempsey and General Odierno, and we offer them our strong support."

Odierno currently serves as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which is being deactivated no later than Aug. 31. He entered the Army in 1976 and served as a platoon leader with the 56th Field Artillery Brigade.

Gen. David Petraeus, now commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, served together with Odierno in the earliest days of the conflict in Iraq in 2003.

During the recent surge in Iraq, Petraeus served as Multi-National Forces-Iraq commander while Odierno served as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq commander.

"His leadership of MNC-I was absolutely magnificent, his operational vision was exceptional, his determination was extraordinary, and his drive was legendary," Petraeus said. "It was an enormous privilege to have him as a key member of the team during that pivotal period in Iraq."

Odierno assumed Petraeus’ position at MNF-I in September 2008 and was there through its transition to USF-I. Odierno "continued to make a tremendous impact in the land of the two rivers as the overall commander there for another two years," Petraeus said.

In October 2010, Odierno took command of U.S. Joint Forces Command, "shouldering with great skill and vision, the delicate task of transitioning vital capabilities of JFCOM to other organizations to enable the disestablishment of that command," Petraeus said.

The president also commented on Odierno’s successes in Iraq when making the announcement regarding his nomination to the chief of staff position.

"In three pivotal deployments to Iraq, he commanded the troops that captured Saddam Hussein, partnered with General Petraeus to help bring down the violence, and then transferred responsibility to Iraqi forces, allowing us to remove some 100,000 American troops and end our combat mission," Obama said.

Adding, "After years on the front lines, Ray understands what the Army must do – to prevail in today’s wars, to prepare for the future, and to preserve the readiness of the soldiers and families who are the strength of America’s families."