Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, has been sworn in as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).  Dempsey, most recently the Army’s Chief of Staff, succeeds ADM Mike Mullen, who retired on September 30. 

In a ceremony held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Gen. Dempsey’s “strategic vision is the right one for this time of transition.”  Panetta described Dempsey as an officer with “a keen intellect, proven leadership, strategic vision, and most of all humanity.”

Gen. Dempsey, a career armor officer, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1974.  Before becoming Army Chief of Staff, he commanded the US Army Training and Doctrine Command.  Prior to that duty, Dempsey served as Deputy Commander and then Acting Commander of U.S. Central Command.  Dempsey commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq and led the training of Iraqi Security Forces as Commanding General of MNSTC-1.

In a letter to the Joint Force, Dempsey described U.S. forces as “powerful, responsive, and resilient” that comprise the “finest military on the planet.”   Dempsey told the troops that he will focus on four areas to ensure that the Joint Force continues to meet the nation’s military needs.

He pledged to ensure that forces currently “in harm’s way”  will have what they need to complete their missions and achieve the nation’s security objectives.

He said the force must look into the future and develop Joint Force 2020 “to provide the greatest number of options for our nation’s leaders and to ensure that our nation remains immune from coercion.”  Dempsey acknowledged the resource challenges facing the department due to the current fiscal difficulties, but said maintaining the “best led, best trained and best equipped force” is a “non-negotiable imperative.”

Dempsey told the troops they must renew their :”commitment to the Profession of Arms.”  He said being a professional means continuing to learn, understand, and promote the necessary skills, attributes, and behaviors required of professionals.

Finally, he pledged to “keep faith with our Military Family.”  He said servicemembers and their families, including wounded warriors, “deserve the future they have sacrificed to secure.”