Kevin Baron and Chris Carroll
Stars and Stripes
Published: April 27, 2011

WASHINGTON — Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is President Barack Obama’s reported choice to lead the Defense Department in an era of lingering wars and contracting military budgets.

The president is expected to officially announce the nomination Thursday.

Panetta, 72, a former Democratic congressman, chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and an Army intelligence officer, will succeed another former CIA director, current Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Army Gen, David Petraeus, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan, is expected to take over for Panetta at the CIA. Lt. Gen. John Allen, deputy commander of Central Command, is expected to receive a fourth star and assume command from Petraeus in Kabul. Additionally, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will reportedly be nominated as ambassador to Afghanistan.

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