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Statement by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Senate Confirmations


Location: Unknown

"I would like to congratulate Gen. Martin Dempsey and Adm. James Winnefeld, who the Senate confirmed today to serve as our next chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I am thrilled these two great Americans will soon join me in leading the finest military in the world.

"They bring with them immense intellect, proven leadership and far reaching strategic vision, and I know that both the president and I will greatly benefit from their candid advice and counsel as we confront the many security challenges facing our country. Gen. Dempsey and Adm. Winnefeld will succeed two of the military's finest leaders, Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. James Cartwright. I have relied greatly on their counsel and benefited greatly from their wisdom during this period of transition, and I look forward to paying full tribute to each before they retire from military service.

"America and its armed forces will also benefit from the confirmation today of four extraordinary officers to top service and combatant command positions. I congratulate Gen. Raymond Odierno on his confirmation as Army Chief of Staff, Adm. Jonathan Greenert on his confirmation as Chief of Naval Operations, Gen. William Fraser on his confirmation as commander, Transportation Command, and Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby, who was approved for appointment to the rank of general and confirmed as commander, Northern Command.

"I look forward to working closely with all of these outstanding leaders to ensure that America's military remains the finest in the world and that our men and women in uniform and the families who support them get what they need as they work tirelessly to safeguard our great nation."

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