Obama selects new Joint Chiefs of Staff

Marine General Joseph Dunford
Marine General Joseph Dunford

US President Barack Obama has selected Marine General Joseph Dunford as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US media reported.

According to The Washington Post, CNN and FOX News, citing top government officials, Obama selected Dunford to replace General Martin Dempsey, who will leave the top job later in the year after serving for four years.

Obama, the sources added, would publicly announce Dunford’s nomination on Tuesday, after which the 59-year-old general, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, would face confirmation by the Senate.

To achieve the support of the US upper house, the nominee would have to agree to an initial term of two years.

If the president then renews trust in him, he could opt for a second term and complete a four-year term in the office.

Republican Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain was quick to applaud the nomination.

“I’ve known him very well for many years and he’s an outstanding leader,” said McCain.

Dunford, well liked at the Pentagon, has been commander of the Marine Corps since October, after serving at the forefront of the Allied forces in Afghanistan between February 2013 and August 2014, during which he oversaw parts of the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Obama’s nominee began his army career as an infantry officer, and commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during the Iraq war.

If confirmed, Dunford will face challenges including the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, tension with Russia over the Ukraine conflict and looming cuts in the defence budget.