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Senate Confirms Mullen, Cartwright for Top Military Positions

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2007 – The Senate confirmed Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen and Marine Corps Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, Aug. 3.

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Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, left, and Marine Corps Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, were confirmed by the Senate as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, Aug. 3, 2007. Defense Dept. image.

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Mullen will assume the top U.S. military post, held by Marine Gen. Peter Pace since September 2005. Pace is slated to retire Oct. 1.

Cartwright assumes the No. 2 military post held by Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, who retired July 27. Cartwright is on the job now, with his formal swearing-in expected later this month.

Mullen currently serves as the chief of naval operations, and Cartwright has been commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

In nominating them to the top two military posts June 28, President Bush called them “experienced military officers who are highly qualified for these important positions.”

The president noted that Mullen’s and Cartwright’s nominations come at a critical time for the United States.

“America is at war, and we are at war with brutal enemies who have attacked our nation and who would pursue nuclear weapons and would use their control of oil as economic blackmail and intend to launch new attacks on our country,” he said. “At such times, one of the most important decisions a president makes is the appointment of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

As the country’s highest-ranking military officer, the chairman serves as the principal military adviser to the president, the defense secretary, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council, Bush noted. He also is responsible for ensuring the readiness of U.S. military forces.

At STRATCOM, Cartwright has been responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal; missile defenses; space operations; information operations; global command and control; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction, Bush said.

He has met these responsibilities “with honor, skill and integrity,” the president said, noting that he will apply these same principles in his position as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

During their confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee July 31, Mullen and Cartwright pledged to do their best to represent the men and women of the U.S. military.

Mullen told the senators he would represent the nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families “with the full measure” of his “effort, to listen, to learn, and to lead.”

As chairman, Mullen will spend much of his time focusing on U.S. military operations in Iraq. He told the senate committee he plans to visit the U.S. Central Command area soon to help him understand the conditions on the ground.

Mullen said he also faces the challenge of resetting, reconstituting and revitalizing U.S. forces, particularly the ground forces. The U.S. military remains the strongest military on Earth, he told the Senate committee, but it is not unbreakable. “Force reset in all its forms cannot wait until the war in Iraq is over,” he said.

The admiral said he also sees the need to balance strategic risks of the future to relieve demands on the force.

(Jim Garamone of American Forces Press Service contributed to this article.)

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Adm. Michael G. Mullen, USN
Gen. James E. Cartwright, USMC

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMarine Corps Gen. Peter Pace (right), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shakes hands with Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Cartwright began his duties as vice chairman by meeting with the chairman in his office Aug. 6, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by Mamie Burke  
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