Remarks on the Nomination of Admiral Michael G. Mullen To Be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General James E. Cartwright To Be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The President. Good morning. Thank you all for coming. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us. I am sending to the United States Senate my nomination of Admiral Mike Mullen to be America's next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I'm sending my nomination of General James Cartwright to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mike Mullen and Hoss Cartwright are experienced military officers. They're highly qualified for these important positions. I thank them for agreeing to serve their country in these new capacities. We welcome Mike's wife Deborah and sons, John and Michael. Thank you all for coming. Thanks for wearing the uniform. Hoss's wife got stuck on an airplane. [Laughter] I'm sure she's going to forgive him—[laughter]—and hopefully, forgive me. I thank you all for being here and joining on this—joining these good men on this exciting day for them.
America is at war, and we're at war with brutal enemies who have attacked our Nation and who would pursue nuclear weapons, who would use their control over oil as economic blackmail, and who intend to launch new attacks on our country. In such times, one of the most important decisions a President makes is the appointment of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Chairman is our Nation's highest-ranking military officer. He is the principal military adviser to the President, to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council. He is responsible for ensuring that our military forces are ready to meet any challenge.
Admiral Mike Mullen is uniquely qualified to take on these important responsibilities. Mike has had an illustrious military career, spanning nearly four decades. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. He earned an advanced degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He has commanded three ships, a cruiser-destroyer group, and an aircraft carrier battle group. He served as commander of NATO's Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy, with responsibility for Alliance missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and Mediterranean. He served as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe.
At the Pentagon, he has served as the Navy's Director of Surface Warfare, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and Chief of Naval Operations. Mike is a man of experience, of vision, and high integrity. He is the right man to lead America's Armed Forces. And, Mike, I thank you for agreeing to take on this important assignment.
I'm also nominating an outstanding military officer to serve as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hoss Cartwright. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa. He earned an advanced degree from the Naval War College. He completed a fellowship at MIT. He's a Marine aviator who has commanded deployed marines at all levels. He has broad experience on the Joint Staff, having served twice in the Directorate of Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment.
And since 2004, he's served as head of the U.S. Strategic Command. In that position, Hoss has been in charge of America's nuclear arsenal, missile defenses, space operations, information operations, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and our Nation's efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction. These are vital responsibilities, and Hoss has met them with honor, skill, and integrity. He has earned my trust and my confidence. And he's going to make an outstanding Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Upon confirmation by the Senate, Mike Mullen and Hoss Cartwright will succeed two of America's finest military officers, General Pete Pace and Admiral Ed Giambastiani. Pete Pace has been at my side most of my Presidency, serving first as my Vice Chairman—as the Vice Chairman and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We've been through a lot together. Pete was with me after the attacks of September the 11th. He played a key role in planning America's response to that brutal assault on the American homeland.
With the help of his leadership, our men and women in uniform brought down brutal dictatorships in Afghanistan and Iraq. It liberated 50 million people from unspeakable oppression. He's helped lead our military through unprecedented campaigns. And as he has done so, Pete never took his eye off the horizon and the threats that still lie ahead. He played a critical role in transforming our military for challenges of a new century. He made sure that future benefits—future generations will benefit from the reforms that he has set in motion.
Pete made history as the first marine to serve as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I'm going to remember him simply as one of the best military officers and finest men I've been privileged to know. I'm grateful for his friendship, his sense of humor, and his character. I also thank—I thank him for the life of service, and I thank his wife Lynne and his children as well.
I'm also grateful to Admiral Ed Giambastiani. I just call him "Admiral G." I appreciated his outstanding leadership as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He's an officer of character and vision, and I appreciate his insights and his strong military advice.
Prior to his service as Vice Chairman, Admiral G helped lead the transformation of our military as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. He helped strengthen the NATO Alliance as the first Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. Ed has given 37 years of dedicated service to our country. His work will affect the security of our Nation for decades to come. I thank him for his devotion to duty. I thank his wife Cindy and their children as well.
Pete Pace and Ed Giambastiani are hard acts to follow. I can think of none more qualified to follow them than the men whose nominations I have—sending to the United States Senate today. I call on the Senate to quickly confirm Mike Mullen and Hoss Cartwright. I thank these fine officers and their families for continuing to serve our country.
Thank you all for coming.
[At this point, Chairman-designate Adm. Mullen and Vice Chairman-designate Gen. Cartwright made brief remarks.]
The President. Thank you all. Thanks.
NOTE: The President spoke at 8:47 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Chairman-designate Adm. Mullen and Vice Chairman-designate Gen. Cartwright.
George W. Bush, Remarks on the Nomination of Admiral Michael G. Mullen To Be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General James E. Cartwright To Be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/275832