WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama announced Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as his choice to succeed Adm. Mike Mullen as chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff Monday, rounding out an overhaul of his national security team in his third year in office.
Marine Gen. James Cartwright had long been rumored to be Obama's favorite, and the president singled him out for praise at Monday's Rose Garden announcement. But he turned instead to Dempsey, an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war, to succeed Mullen.
Obama called Dempsey "one of our nation's most respected and combat-tested generals."
The president also announced he has chosen Navy Adm. James Winnefeld to succeed Cartwright as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Army Gen. Ray Odierno as his candidate to replace Dempsey as Army chief of staff.
The nominees have to be approved by the Senate, and Obama voiced hope that could happen in a timely fashion.
Obama called America's servicemen and women "the best our nation has to offer, and they deserve nothing but the best in return, and that includes leaders."
The president earlier decided to send CIA Director Leon Panetta to the Pentagon to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary and chose Afghanistan war commander Gen. David Petraeus to replace Panetta at the CIA. Both of those men, too, will need to be confirmed by the Senate.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)