Dempsey Must Bridge Pentagon Divisions Over Budget Cuts

The appointment of U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff inspired some debate this week over why President Barack Obama passed over U.S. Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright -- a previous front-runner for the post.

But David Johnson, executive director of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, says the decision to go with Dempsey was something of a no-brainer, since Dempsey stands a significantly better chance of reconciling different factions within the Pentagon over the issue of looming budget cuts.

"He fits in very well both with the need to harmonize the team at the Joint Chiefs, while also addressing the very clear need to make some cuts," said Johnson, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.

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