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New Army chief of staff sworn in

Schoomaker served lengthy term in special operations

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Gen. Pete Schoomaker will also serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Gen. Pete Schoomaker was sworn in Friday as the 35th Army chief of staff, the Pentagon said in a statement.

As the Army's highest ranking officer, Schoomaker takes the helm of a branch of service that recently saw its leaders clash with -- and ultimately lose to -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Schoomaker's predecessor, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, retired in June after a stormy tenure. He met resistance from Rumsfeld, who did not sign onto Shinseki's vision of transforming the Army.

Army Secretary Thomas White was forced to resign in April after repeated clashes with Rumsfeld, including disputes over efforts to modernize the service and Rumsfeld's decision to cancel the Army's $11 billion Crusader artillery system.

Schoomaker retired in November 2000 after a lengthy career in special operations, an expertise on which Rumsfeld has made clear he wants the Army to focus.

As chief of staff, Schoomaker's basic mission is to ensure Army forces are properly trained and equipped. He will also serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Schoomaker began his 31-year Army career as an armor officer. He joined Special Forces in the 1980s, and as an Army major, he participated in Operation Desert One, the failed attempt to rescue more than 50 American hostages from Iran.

According to the Pentagon's statement, Schoomaker also participated in operations in Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti and numerous other joint-contingency operations.

He rose to command the Army's ultra-secret Delta Force from July 1989 to July 1992. He headed the Joint Special Operations Command from July 1994 to August 1996, which put him charge of coordinating special operations of all the military services. He became head of the command in November 1997.

Schoomaker refused a request by the Justice Department to review the plan to attack the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993, making it clear he felt it was inappropriate to ask the military to get involved in a civilian law enforcement matter. He let it be known that he felt the plan was not how the military might have proceeded.

After an FBI raid on the compound, 80 followers of cult leader David Koresh died from gunshots or in a fire apparently started by the Davidians.


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