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Obama names new natl. security team
Thu, 28 Apr 2011 23:42:24 GMT
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Leon Panetta(L) and David Petraeus are expected to be easily confirmed.
US President Barak Obama has appointed a top military commander as the Central Intelligence Agency director, while giving the former CIA chief a military job in Afghanistan.

The president, in a pre-election year, announced on Thursday that he selected CIA Director Leon Panetta to succeed Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and appointed General David Petraeus, commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan, as the new CIA chief, dpa reported.

Obama also confirmed plans to nominate retired diplomat Ryan Crocker as the next ambassador to Afghanistan and Lieutenant General John Allen, deputy commander of US Central Command, to replace Petraeus.

The new candidates will await Senate confirmation.

The 72-year-old Panetta, if approved by the Senate, will become the first Democrat to hold the top US defense job since William Perry in 1997.

The reshuffling of Obama's top echelon of security officials is of a paramount importance since any changes on his security team would mold the future US policies amid the rising tide of outside criticism over the unpopular war in Afghanistan as well as the NATO-led military operations in Libya.

JM/MGH
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