Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen and Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. James E. Cartwright greet Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Sen. Jack Reed and Sen. John Warner prior to their confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee for appointment to Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Hart Senate Office Building. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist
1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
The Senate confirmed Adm. Michael G. Mullen and Marine Corps Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, Aug. 3.
Mullen will assume the top U.S. military post, held by Marine Gen. Peter Pace since September 2005. Pace is slated to retire Oct. 1.
Cartwright assumes the No. 2 military post held by Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, who retired July 27. Cartwright is on the job now, with his formal swearing-in expected later this month.
Mullen currently serves as the Chief of Naval Operations, and Cartwright has been commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM).
In nominating them to the top two military posts June 28, President George W. Bush called them “experienced military officers who are highly qualified for these important positions.”
The president noted that Mullen’s and Cartwright’s nominations come at a critical time for the United States.
“America is at war, and we are at war with brutal enemies who have attacked our nation and who would pursue nuclear weapons and would use their control of oil as economic blackmail and intend to launch new attacks
on our country,” he said. “At such times, one of the most important decisions a president makes is the appointment of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
As the country’s highest-ranking military officer, the chairman serves as the principal military adviser to the president, the defense secretary, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council, Bush noted. He also is responsible for ensuring the readiness of U.S. military forces.
At STRATCOM, Cartwright has been responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal; missile defenses; space operations; information operations; global command and control; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction, Bush said.
He has met these responsibilities “with honor, skill and integrity,” the president said, noting that he will apply these same principles in his position as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
During their confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee July 31, Mullen and Cartwright pledged to do their best to represent the men and women of the U.S. military.
As chairman, Mullen will spend much of his time focusing on U.S. military operations in Iraq. He told the senate committee he plans to visit the U.S. Central Command area soon to help him understand the conditions on the ground.
Mullen said he also faces the challenge of resetting, reconstituting and revitalizing U.S. forces, particularly the ground forces. The U.S. military remains the strongest military on Earth, he told the Senate committee, but it is not unbreakable.
The admiral said he also sees the need to balance strategic risks of the future to relieve demands on the force.