Army general Martin Dempsey was chosen by President Barack Obama to
replace Adm. Michael Mullen as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Obama made his announcement Monday, as Mullen's term as chairman ends this fall.
"The men and women of our armed forces are the best our nation has to offer, and they deserve nothing but the absolute best in return," the President said Monday. "And that includes leaders who will guide them, and support their families, with wisdom and strength and compassion. And that's what I expect as commander in chief as we work to keep our nation secure and our military the finest in the world."
Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were the two leading figures in repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military. In his message honoring Mullen, Obama said the outgoing chairman would be remembered "as the chairman who said what he believed was right and declared no one in uniform should ever have to sacrifice their integrity to serve their country."
Former CIA director Leon Panetta was named in April to succeed Robert Gates. If confirmed, Panetta, Dempsey, and Obama may certify that the military can officially repeal "don't ask, don't tell" as soon as this fall.