Obama crosses aisle for Army secretary

June 2, 2009 at 1:57 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama reached across the party aisle Monday to nominate nine-term Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., as secretary of the U.S. Army.

"Today, I am proud to announce John McHugh as the next secretary of the Army," Obama said when presenting McHugh as his choice. "John is a distinguished public servant who will help keep us safe and keep our sacred trust with our soldiers and their families. He is committed to keeping America's Army the best-trained, the best-equipped, the best-led land force the world has ever seen."

McHugh is the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and has been the ranking Republican on the panel's Subcommittee on Military Personnel. For the last 14 years, he has been the co-Chair of the House of Representatives Army Caucus. McHugh previously was a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Noting that McHugh hasn't agreed with him on every decision, Obama said the congressman "shares my belief that a sustainable national security strategy must include a bipartisan consensus at home."

McHugh promised that if confirmed by he Senate, "I will do everything I possibly can to work in concert with the Army leadership to provide you and to (Defense) Secretary (Robert) Gates the broadest based, the most accurate, the most informative information as you go forward in discharging your very, very weighty responsibilities in these dangerous times as commander in chief."

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