Senate Panel OKs Fallon, Casey Nominations

The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 6, 2007; 10:44 AM

WASHINGTON -- A Senate panel easily approved Adm. William Fallon's nomination to become top U.S. commander in the Middle East on Tuesday.

It also signed off on making Gen. George Casey, who has been the top American general in Iraq, the Army chief of staff, although that vote encountered some Republican opposition.

Both nominations must now be considered by the full Senate, which is expected to approve them.

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-0 to approve Fallon, who has been commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific. As the chief commander of Central Command, Fallon will oversee wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in an area that stretches from western Africa to Central Asia, making him a top figure in President Bush's war team.

Casey's nomination was more controversial because some lawmakers have faulted him for the an Iraq war that has gone badly. He was approved 14-3, with opposition coming from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., John Ensign, R-Nev., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

© 2007 The Associated Press