Dempsey's low-key style good sell for JCS role

Weary of war cabinet strife, administration picks candidate with diplomatic skills

President Obama’s appointment of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey May 30 to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wraps up a major reshuffling of his administration’s national security team just as an internal debate within the administration is heating up over how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, reports the New York Times.

Dempsey has not publicly stated how many troops he believes the administration should pull out of Afghanistan by the president’s pre-established July deadline.

President Obama has charged Dempsey, who will be the president’s senior military advisor, with presenting him a full range of options on how to begin extracting troops from the Southwest Asian country.

Dempsey’s peers describe him as a “pentathlete,” which by that they mean he not only is intensely familiar with the art of warfare but also a skilled hand at diplomacy — within the Defense Department and with coalition members — and also with mastering large amounts of relevant information, reports the New York Times in a follow-up story.

Obama felt Dempsey was the right choice for many reasons not the least of which he carries no political baggage and has no outspoken critics across the armed forces.

Of the senior commanders to emerge from the wars in Southwest Asia, Dempsey is regarded as the least self-aggrandizing, a trait that appeals to a White House administration that has felt challenged by strong egos within the war Cabinet during policy battles.

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