Gates Expresses Support for Casey, Fallon
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2007 Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, both of whom are nominated for key leadership positions, are supremely qualified professionals who should be confirmed by the Senate, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.
Defense Robert M. Gates conducts his first roundtable meeting with the Pentagon press corps, Jan. 26. Photo by Helene C. Stikkel
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Fallon, who is nominated to take over U.S. Central Command, faces his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 30; Casey, who is nominated to be Army chief of staff, has his hearing Feb. 1.
Speaking today at a media roundtable at the Pentagon, Gates expressed support for both officers. Casey, he noted, has given more than 35 years of service to the nation and spent 30 months in Baghdad as the commander of Multinational Force Iraq.
As commander in Iraq, Casey adjusted to changing circumstances on the ground, Gates said. After the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra in February 2006, Casey adjusted tactics to deal with the rise in sectarian violence and changed force levels as needed, he said.
“He was the first choice of the professional military and the secretary of the Army for this position,” Gates said. “He served as the vice chief of staff of the Army. So I think he’s eminently qualified. I think he’s rendered good service. I think he deserves this position.”
Fallon is described as one of the best strategic thinkers in the military, Gates said. His experience in U.S. Pacific Command has given him diplomatic skills that will come in handy in the Middle East, and Central Command could benefit from the perspective of a Navy officer, Gates said.
“As you look at the range of options available to the United States, the use of naval and air power, potentially, it made sense to me for all those reasons for Admiral Fallon to have the job,” he said.