President Barack Obama named Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., the commandant of the Marines and a respected and combat-hardened commander, as Gen. Martin Dempsey's successor chairing the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford, 59, commanded U.S. forces and the NATO security mission in Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014, and led the 5th Marine Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. "I know Joe, I trust him," Obama said in an official announcement Tuesday. "He has already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground." Dunford is expected to be easily confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and his selection signals that even as the U.S. puts more focus on Asia and looks ahead to high-tech cyber and space threats, the administration still believes a strong ground force commander is needed to work through the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and across the Middle East and Africa, the Associated Press reported.