Obama nominates Panetta to succeed Gates as Secretary of Defense

panettamicroPresident Barack Obama today thanked Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for his service as he officially announced his intention to nominate CIA Director Leon E. Panetta to lead the Pentagon after Gates retires June 30.

Obama said Gates will go down in history as one of the finest defense secretaries in U.S. history.

The president also nominated Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to succeed Panetta at the CIA and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen to succeed Petraeus as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

President Obama also is nominating Ryan C. Crocker to return from retirement and serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

April 28, 2011

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