U.S. Senate confirms Obama's head of Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 1, 2013 9:52pm EDT

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies at a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on ''Department Leadership.'' on Capitol Hill in Washington June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies at a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on ''Department Leadership.'' on Capitol Hill in Washington June 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Army General Martin Dempsey to a second term as President Barack Obama's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The action came a week after Republican Senator John McCain dropped his hold on the nomination when Dempsey, at McCain's request, spelled out possible U.S. military options in Syria.

Dempsey wrote that U.S. forces could undertake a range of missions to help Syrian rebels, from training to establishing no-fly zones and conducting limited attacks on military targets.

However, he warned of the risks of unintended consequences and noted that involvement in Syria would be an act of war that could cost billions of dollars.

McCain said he was disappointed with Dempsey's answers, but would not prevent a Senate vote.

(Reporting By Thomas Ferraro and Susan Cornwell)

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