President Barack Obama Fills Out His New National Security Team

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (101MB) | mp3 (10MB)

Yesterday morning, before traveling to Arlington National Cemetery for the Memorial Day Service, President Obama made a Department of Defense personnel announcement, nominating  Gen. Dempsey to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Winnefeld to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Gen. Odierno as Army Chief of Staff. The President urged the Senate to confirm these nominees as soon as possible and explained what he values most in advisors:

I urge our friends in the Senate to confirm these outstanding individuals as swiftly as possible.  They’re innovative, flexible, focused on the future, and deeply devoted to our troops and their families.  General Dempsey, Admiral Winnefeld, we have much to do -- from bringing our troops home from Iraq to beginning to reduce our forces in Afghanistan this summer and transitioning to Afghan lead; from defeating al Qaeda to protecting the Libyan people.  All this, even as we make difficult budget decisions while keeping our military the finest fighting force in the world.

Above all, as Commander-in-Chief, I’ll be looking to you, and the rest of the Joint Chiefs, for what I value most in my advisors -- your honest, unvarnished advice, and the full range of options, especially when it comes to our most solemn obligation:  protecting the lives of our brave men and women in uniform.  We have no greater responsibility, as we are reminded today when we honor all those who sacrificed so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom.

President Barack Obama Makes a Department of Defense Personnel Announcement

President Barack Obama stands with, from left, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Admiral James "Sandy" Winnefeld, and Gen. Ray Odierno as he makes a personnel statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 30, 2011. The President nominated Gen. Dempsey to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Winnefeld to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Gen. Odierno as Army Chief of Staff. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Related Topics: Homeland Security
JUMP TO: