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President Barack Obama has chosen Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to AP sources. Dempsey is a surprising choice because he began a four-year term as Army chief of staff just last month. Service chiefs have rarely, if ever, been promoted to JCS chairman so quickly.
Marine Gen. James Cartwright, an Obama favourite, had long been considered the frontrunner for the JCS post. Gen. Cartwright was passed over, government officials said Tuesday, due to an inquiry into anonymous accusations that the general had a relationship with a woman who worked for him.
The defence Department’s inspector general ruled that there was no improper relationship, but the incident sparked questions about Gen. Cartwright’s judgment.
Dempsey is a highly experienced officer who has served two tours in Iraq and filled in as acting commander of Central Command. He is known inside the Army for innovative thinking and straightforwardness.
Dempsey will replace Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, whose term ends Oct. 1. The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman is the last post to be filled in the recent reshuffle of Obama’s national security team.