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Friday, 24 August, 2001, 21:07 GMT 22:07 UK
Bush names new military adviser
The Pentagon
The Bush administration promised fundamental reform
By BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus

President George W Bush has announced that he has nominated General Richard Myers to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military officer at the Pentagon.

[General Myers] is the right man to preserve the best traditions of our armed forces while challenging them to innovate to meet the threats of the future

President Bush
General Myers, a former combat pilot in Vietnam, will be the first air force officer to hold the post for nearly two decades.

He is known as an advocate of space-based operations.

But with growing budgetary pressures and demands for fundamental reform, General Myers, whose nomination needs to be confirmed by the US Senate, could have some bumpy times ahead.

Close relationship

General Myers has been Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's chief military adviser as the new Bush defence team has struggled to set out its new strategic priorities.

Richard Myers
General Myers is a former combat pilot in Vietnam

It is this close relationship that has probably won him the top military job at the Pentagon. But General Myers is not going to have an easy time.

The Bush administration came to office promising fundamental military reform, but delivering this vision is proving difficult.

Money is short. Both Congressional leaders and senior military commanders are suspicious of Mr Rumsfeld's plans, feeling that they have been left on the sidelines as the defence review has moved forward.

Painful change

General Myers is going to have a twin task: first to win over the military to the idea that painful change is necessary.

And as Mr Bush's chief military adviser, he will also have to help the administration to select those key areas of reform that can indeed be funded.

As a former head of the US Space Command, General Myers is known to be an advocate for the aggressive development of space-based weapons, but he is no radical reformer.

Mr Bush described him as a man with skilled and steady hands, and he is going to need both virtues if he is to negotiate what could be a difficult path ahead.

See also:

16 Aug 01 | Americas
Stumbling towards Pentagon reform
30 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Rumsfeld denies US foreign policy split
29 Jun 01 | Americas
US military bases face closure
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