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Bush Taps Myers to be Uniformed Military Chief - 2001-08-24

President Bush has chosen a new chairman of the military joint chiefs of staff. The decision comes as the administration continues its review of U.S. military operations.

President Bush chose Air Force General Richard Myers to be his top uniformed military advisor. Mr. Bush says the general has shown the leadership it takes to head the team of top generals from the army, navy, air force, and marines. "General Myers is a man of steady resolve and determined leadership. His is a skilled and steady hand," Mr. Bush said. "He is someone who understands that the strengths of America's armed forces are our people and our technological superiority and we must invest in both."

General Myers was at the President's Texas ranch for a briefing on the administration's military review. He says he is ready to get to work. "Like the hardworking Americans here in the Heartland of Texas, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and eager to get back to work to building the kind of military that President Bush envisions, one that is poised to meet current obligations and emerging threats," General Myers said.

The president's choice for chairman of the joint chiefs of staff must be confirmed by the Senate. If approved, General Myers would succeed Army General Hugh Shelton. General Myers has served as deputy chairman since March of last year.

General Myers was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. The 59-year-old has commanded Air Force units in the Pacific and Japan. He has also served as head of the U.S. space command which oversees military satellites and advanced technologies. That may be one of the reasons he got the job. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who made the choice along with the president, says missle defense and space are keys to his ongoing military review.

"Change is hard and changing so vital an institution as the U.S. Department of Defense is not undertaken lightly," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "It takes clarity of vision and unity of purpose. And it takes leadership. General Dick Myers is such a leader."

The Bush administration also nominated Marine General Peter Pace to serve as vice chairman of the joint chiefs. If confirmed, General Pace would be the first marine to hold so high a post.