Top US military officer retires, hands over to successor
Oct 1, 2011, 10:37 GMT
Washington - The highest-ranking US military officer retired Friday in a handover ceremony in which President Barack Obama welcomed the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Admiral Mike Mullen held the post for four years.
His successor is General Martin Dempsey, who has served as Army chief of staff since April.
'Despite the stresses and strains of a hard decade of war, the military that Admiral Mullen passes to General Dempsey today is the best that it has ever been,' Obama said.
He praised Mullen's 'unwavering dedication' to the lives and well-being of US servicemen and women.
Obama called Dempsey 'one of our nation's most respected and combat-tested generals.'
The US Senate unanimously ratified Dempsey's appointment, after he was nominated in May by Obama.
Before becoming Army chief of staff, Dempsey was commanding general of the Army Training and Doctrine Command since 2008.
From March-October 2008 he was acting commander of the US Central Command, which is responsible for US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dempsey was commanding general of the Multi-National Security Transition Command in Iraq from 2005-07.