The Senate confirmed several top Pentagon officials Thursday night, ending a brief standoff over the White House’s stance on Syria.
Senators confirmed Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld to serve second two-year terms as, respectively, the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The vote came after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., threatened to block Dempsey’s nomination, claiming that Dempsey had not sufficiently answered questions about the advice he gave President Obama on U.S. military policy toward Syria.
McCain has strongly advocated providing robust military support to the Syrian rebels in their civil war against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, while Dempsey’s public statements have emphasized caution and concerns that the Syrian rebels include some anti-American extremist groups.
The Senate also voted to approve Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti to command U.S. forces in South Korea and Adm. Cecil Haney to head U.S. Strategic Command.