Obama chooses Marine general as Joint Chiefs chairman

By LOLITA C. BALDOR

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated a respected, combat-hardened commander as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to lead the military during a time of transition.

Obama chose Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. to succeed Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who will have served four years as chairman.

“I know Joe, I trust him,” Obama said at the White House. “He has already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice.”

Dunford is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate.

His selection signals that even as the U.S. puts more focus on Asia and looks ahead to high-tech cyber and space threats, the administration still believes a strong ground force commander is needed for the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and across the Middle East and Africa.

Dunford’s service as the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps will be cut short; he began that job last October. The rapid promotion is one of several that have marked Dunford’s fast-tracked military career, which saw him leap from a one-star general to four stars in about three years.

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Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

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