Gen Peter Pace goes
WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates announced on Friday he was replacing General Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to avoid a divisive showdown in Congress focusing on the Iraq war.
“I am disappointed that circumstances make this kind of a decision necessary,” Gates said of the loss of Pace, who has held the country’s top military post since September 2005.
Gates said he had intended to name Pace to a second two-year term as chairman in September, but changed his mind after consulting members of Congress, who also already have an eye on the 2008 presidential polls.
“I have decided that at this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform and General Pace himself would not be well served by a divisive ordeal in selecting the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” he told reporters.
In deciding to replace Pace with Admiral Michael Mullen, who is currently the chief of naval operations, Gates also had to replace Admiral Edmund Giambastiani as vice chairman so that the top two military positions would not both be held by naval officers.
Giambastiani will be replaced by Marine General James Cartwright, currently the head of the US Strategic Command, which is responsible for US strategic nuclear forces. afp