WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to tame wars overseas and budget deficits at home, President Barack Obama announced a major reshuffling of his national security team Thursday aimed at ensuring leadership continuity during a perilous time.
His re-election campaign approaching, Obama turned to a cast of familiar and respected officials for the most sweeping remake of his national security team since he took office.
He nominated CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates when Gates makes his long-planned retirement this summer; and proposed sending Iraq and Afghanistan war commander Gen. David Petraeus to head the CIA.
The changes, which require Senate approval, come as the Obama administration confronts numerous national security challenges at home and abroad, including finding a way out of the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan and making politically perilous cuts to the Pentagon budget.
"These are the leaders that I've chosen to help guide us through the difficult days ahead," Obama said in the White House East Room with Gates, Panetta, Petraeus and other top officials by his side.
"I will look to them and my entire national security time for their counsel, continuity and unity of effort that this moment in history demands."
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