Gen. Martin Dempsey nomimated as next chief of staff

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Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, will take over as the Army's top officer in April unless Congress votes down Defense Secretary Robert Gates' nomination. (Army photo)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday he will nominate Gen. Martin Dempsey, head of Training and Doctrine Command, to take over as the next Army chief of staff.

Dempsey will succeed Gen. George Casey in April if his nomination is confirmed by Congress.

“I don’t think there is anyone more qualified … He is an extraordinary leader that I have worked closely,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen.

The West Point graduate took command of TRADOC in 2008 after serving as Acting Commander, U.S. Central Command. He served as CENTCOM’s deputy commander before Navy Adm. William J. Fallon stepped down in March 2008 after Fallon told a magazine he disagreed with President Bush’s Iran policy.

Dempsey deployed twice to Iraq before taking over Central Command. He deployed first in 2003 as the 1st Armored Division. In 2007, he returned to Iraq as head of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.

In the lead up to Gates announcing his nomination, Dempsey was seen by many analysts as the front runner.

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey said Dempsey “may be the best combat division commander of the war over the last decade.”

“[Dempsey] turned a division around that was halfway home from Iraq [the 1st Armored], put them back into combat, suppressed a Shi’a uprising south of Baghdad — a remarkable performance,” McCaffrey said.

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