US Army chief: Impact of bin Laden's death still unclear

LONDON (AP) — The man picked to be President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said Wednesday that the United States does not yet understand the long-term implications of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current U.S. Army chief of staff, told a military think tank in London that military leaders are still gauging the likely impact on al-Qaida’s capability and future threat.

Bin Laden’s killing last month was “a great moment in terms of taking the leadership of al-Qaida and creating difficulties for that organization,” Dempsey told Britain’s Royal United Services Institute.

But Dempsey said that he and others haven’t “yet come to understand what his particular demise might mean, and might mean for the future.”

Obama has announced Dempsey as his pick to succeed Adm. Mike Mullen as the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. The nomination of the 59-year-old seals Obama’s overhaul of his military and intelligence leadership.

Dempsey told an audience of military leaders from the U.S., Britain, China and Brazil that it also is not yet clear how the Arab revolts across the Middle East and North Africa will shape relations across the wider world.

“I think our imaginations are just beginning to touch the edges of what that might mean,” he said, “how that will affect the global commons, not just the narrow Middle East itself.”

He said one lesson for military leaders was to shape their forces to be ready to adapt to fast-changing events — developments which may not reflect recent global history.

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