The PJ Tatler

Obama Picks His Fifth Afghanistan Commander as Chairman of Joint Chiefs

President Obama today nominated the commandant of the Marine Corps to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gen. Joseph Dunford would take over for Gen. Martin Dempsey, who has been chairman since October 2011.

Dunford, who has been Marine commandant since last summer, led the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He was Obama’s fifth Afghanistan commander.

“I’ve had a chance to work with him. I have been extraordinarily impressed by Joe from the situation room where he helped to shape our enduring commitment to Afghanistan, to my visit last year to Bagram, where I saw his leadership first-hand,” Obama said today in the Rose Garden.

“I know Joe. I trust him. He’s already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground. Under his steady hand, we’ve achieved key milestones, including the transition to Afghan responsibility for security, historic Afghan elections, and the drawdown of U.S. forces, setting the stage for our combat mission there.”

Obama urged the Senate to confirm Dunford “without delay so we can stay focused on the work that unites us all as Americans: keeping our military strong, our nation secure, our citizens safe.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) already put his stamp of approval on the pick. “General Dunford is a proven leader, commanding forces in Afghanistan, with a deep understanding of the national security challenges we face,” Graham said. “President Obama’s selection of General Dunford to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is outstanding.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) vowed his Armed Services Committee will the nominations of Dunford and vice-chairman pick, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, “prompt and thorough consideration.”

“In addition to his leadership of the Marine Corps, General Dunford’s exemplary service in Iraq and Afghanistan makes him a strong choice as we confront threats to stability and peace in both countries and throughout the region,” McCain said.

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said he hopes that Dunford would continue to be straight with Congress as Obama’s top military adviser.

“General Dunford is a good choice to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Thornberry said. “The range and severity of threats America faces today is unprecedented. I am encouraged that the president has chosen as his top military officer a general who has stared down many of those threats personally. General Dunford has always been candid in giving his best military advice to this committee, if he is confirmed, I look forward to that relationship continuing.”