- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Adm. Michael Mullen was sworn in yesterday as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, taking over the role as principal military adviser to the president and secretary of defense.

The 60-year-old admiral, who is noted for his candor, replaced Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, and vowed to give the nation’s warriors clear direction and prepare them for the future.

“The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan will one day end,” Adm. Mullen said during a ceremony at Fort Myer. “We must be ready for who and what comes after.”

Adm. Mullen’s comments echoed words he wrote in a letter distributed to service members in which he promised to heed the lessons of battles today and thanked them for their commitment.

“The world is a dangerous place. … You’ve stood up to those dangers. You have lost friends to them. You may even have lost some of yourself to them,” Adm. Mullen wrote.

“The dangers of this new and uncertain era have hit you and the people you love squarely in the gut. I will not lose sight of that.”

President Bush honored the two lifelong military leaders and reminded the crowd that the war on terrorism continues and that Adm. Mullen will bring the tools necessary to ensure the security of the nation.

“Admiral Mike Mullen understands what’s at stake in the war on terror,” the president said. “He was on duty at the Pentagon when Flight 77 made its doomed plunge. He felt the plane slam into the building. He saw the carnage and devastation.”

The president also thanked Gen. Pace for his service to the Afghan and Iraqi people.

“He helped craft America’s response to an unprecedented assault on our homeland. He helped liberate two nations from brutal tyrannies and helped bring freedom to millions of people,” Mr. Bush said.

Before heading the Navy in July 2005, Adm. Mullen commanded U.S. naval forces in Europe, as well as NATO’s Joint Force Command in Naples. Adm. Mullen grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968. He commanded surface warships when he served in Vietnam.

Adm. Mullen, the 17th chairman, honored retiring Gen. Pace, who touted the success of the U.S. surge in Iraq to Congress last month. “You led in a tough time, perhaps the toughest, and it’s been a great honor serving with you,” Adm. Mullen said. “I’m ready to take the watch.”

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