On Thursday, President Obama announced new leadership for the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, and the top military and diplomatic posts in Afghanistan. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement:
"With the announcement of new leadership at the Pentagon, the term of one of the nation's most faithful servants will soon come to an end. Secretary Robert Gates will be sorely missed. Over a lifetime of service to the nation, his honesty and candor have garnered him the utmost respect on all sides of the political spectrum as a trusted national security professional. He agreed to serve both Presidents Bush and Obama because of his commitment to our men and women in uniform, to the success of their missions and to the security of this nation. His example will rightfully be long remembered.
"General David Petraeus is one of the great military leaders in American history. Time after time over his long and distinguished career, Presidents have called on General Petraeus to lead when the stakes were highest. And each time, he answered the call without hesitation. This nation owes him and the men and women who served with him our most sincere gratitude and respect. As his military service comes to an end, I wish him all the best in his new mission at the Central Intelligence Agency.
"I look forward to a productive working relationship with Leon Panetta. He is a capable and diligent public servant with a long record of accomplishment. Guided by our shared responsibility to provide all the necessary support for our warfighters, I hope to work closely together over the coming months on the most critical decisions affecting our common defense.
"I wish Lt. Gen John Allen and Ambassador Ryan Crocker great success as they take the lead at a critical time in the war in Afghanistan. I pledge my full support to their efforts to secure victory for the United States and lasting peace for the Afghan people."