President Obama has announced changes to his national security team prompted by the retirement of long-serving defence secretary Robert Gates.
Speaking from the White House, Obama praised each one of his new appointees:
“They are leaders of enormous integrity and talent who have devoted their lives to keeping our nation strong and secure and I am personally very, very grateful to each of them for accepting these new assignments. Given the pivotal period that we are entering, I feel that it is absolutely critical that we have this team in place so that we can stay focused on our mission”.
CIA Director Leon Panetta takes over the role of defence secretary.
General David Petraeus leaves his work in Afghanistan to step into Panetta’s shoes as director of the CIA.
Lt. Gen. John Allen takes charge of NATO operations in Afghanistan with experienced diplomat Ryan Crocker appointed as the new ambassador in Kabul.