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American Forces Press Service

Senate Confirms Nominees to Four Defense Posts

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2007 – The U.S. Senate voted this morning to confirm four senior military officers to serve as the next the chief of naval operations and commanders of U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Joint Forces Command.

The vote followed a hearing yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the full Senate today confirming the nominations of:

-- Navy Adm. Gary Roughead as chief of naval operations;

-- Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward as commander of U.S. Africa Command;

-- Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton as commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and

-- Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis for promotion to general and appointment as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation.

Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the current chief of naval operations, is expected to hand the top Navy military position this weekend to Roughead, who currently commands U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Mullen will become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1, to replace retiring Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace.

Specific assumption-of-command schedules are not yet available for the three new combatant commanders.

Ward, deputy commander of U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, will stand up the new Africa Command as its first commander. He is charged with bringing the command to initial operational capacity as a command subordinate to EUCOM. AFRICOM is slated to be established as a separate unified command by Sept. 30, 2008.

Chilton, who currently commands Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., will take the helm at Strategic Command, with headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

The former STRATCOM commander, Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, became the eighth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Aug. 31.

Mattis, commanding general of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and commander of U.S. Marine Forces Central Command, will receive his fourth star as he becomes the Joint Forces Command chief. In that capacity, he also will serve as NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation. Mattis will replace Air Force Gen. Lance Smith, who announced his retirement this summer after a 38-year-career.

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