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Obama taps Gen. Joseph Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs

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Posted at 12:33 PM, May 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-05 12:33:00-04

(CNN) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday he’ll nominate a trusted military adviser with ties to his drawdown of troops in Afghanistan as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Obama said Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, currently the commandant of the Marine Corps, is his choice for the top military post.

Dunford would replace Gen. Martin Dempsey,‎ who served in the top military role since 2011.

Before taking the top job at the Marine Corps, Dunford acted as the top military commander in Afghanistan, leading the international effort there as Obama seeks to withdraw American troops.

Dunford must first be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate before assuming the new post.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain offered praise for Dunford on Monday, when news that he was Obama’s choice was circulating.

“I’ve known him very well for many years and he’s an outstanding leader,” said McCain, a Vietnam war veteran. “I’m very, extremely enthusiastic about his selection. He’s a combat veteran. He’s a warrior.”

A Boston native with a master’s degree in government from Georgetown University and another master’s in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Dunford served as an infantry officer and commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during the Iraq war. He’s also held a long list of top Marine posts.