Senate panel clears Dempsey nomination

The nominees approved by the committee included Adm. Cecil Haney to be reappointed as U.S. Strategic Command chief and Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti to be commander of United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command.

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The panel also approved the civilian nominations of Stephen Preston as Pentagon general counsel and Jon Rymer as Defense Department inspector general.

The nominations now head to the full Senate for approval.

Dempsey’s confirmation faced turbulence earlier this month after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had briefly threatened a hold on the nomination over a dispute about U.S. Syria policy.

McCain had criticized Dempsey at his confirmation hearing after the four-star general would not disclose his personal opinion about possible U.S. intervention in Syria.

At the end of the hearing, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) asked Dempsey to provide an unclassified assessment of U.S. military options in Syria, in an attempt to satisfy McCain’s request.

McCain also criticized Dempsey’s response when it was sent the following week, but said he was not going to place a hold on the confirmation.

Dempsey is expected to be easily confirmed by the full Senate, which could come this week before the August recess.

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