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Martin Dempsey

6 - Army Gen. Martin Dempsey
2012 Rank: 7

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Just months after becoming chief of staff of the Army in spring 2011, Dempsey was named chairman of the Joint Chiefs, a job he had neither planned for nor expected. Moreover, he succeeded Adm. Mike Mullen (No. 60), perhaps the most influential occupant of that office since Colin Powell. Gregarious by nature — he is known to serenade audiences with “New York, New York” — Dempsey has nonetheless chosen to work more quietly than his predecessor. He urges the service chiefs to prepare for cuts and craft a comprehensive road map to preserve as much capability as possible on a leaner budget. He’s been willing to bump heads with a Congress conflicted over a downsizing military, deep budget cuts and the end of a war, while shifting the nation’s strategic gaze to the Asia-Pacific region. And then there is Benghazi. Dempsey has been repeatedly taken to task on Capitol Hill for intelligence and security failures surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city. Still, Dempsey possesses a distinct influence above and beyond the other members of the Joint Chiefs. 

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