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Iraq veteran Odierno becomes Army chief of staff

Iraq veteran Odierno becomes Army chief of staff

The United States must avoid rash decisions to slash the size of the Army in order to rein in the defense budget, the new chief of the Army said Wednesday.
Army Gen. Ray Odierno, who was sworn in during a ceremony at Fort Myer in suburban Arlington, Virginia, told a packed auditorium of family, friends and fellow soldiers that policymakers must be thoughtful and understand the national security risks as they make difficult fiscal decisions.
"We must avoid our historical pattern of drawing down too fast and getting too small, especially since our record of predicting the future frankly has not been very good," said Odierno, who has served in the Army for 34 years.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted Odierno's repeated deployments to Iraq, which totaled 50 months, calling him the architect of the so-called surge.
Odierno was second in command to Gen. David Petraeus from late 2006 to early 2008, as U.S. troops poured into Iraq to tamp down the escalating violence. He took over as the top commander in September 2008 and was responsible for the start of the U.S. withdrawal and transfer of security to the Iraqis.
The 1976 West Point graduate replaces Gen. Martin E. Dempsey as Army chief. Dempsey will become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Navy Adm. Mike Mullen retires at the end of the month.


Updated : 2021-03-08 20:06 GMT+08:00