Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s decision to nominate current CIA Director Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, Gen. Petraeus as Director of the CIA, Lt. General John Allen, Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan and Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan: 

"Secretary Gates has done a tremendous job and his leadership will missed. Replacing him will not be easy, but Leon Panetta has the professionalism, knowledge and support to step in and do a tremendous job. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I worked closely with Leon Panetta and his team. He did a great job as Director of the CIA and I am confident he has the skills and know-how to do a great job as Secretary of Defense. 

“I have also worked closely with General Petraeus in my capacity on the House Armed Services Committee. He has shown strong leadership in a number of high level national security positions and I have no doubt that he will continue that effective leadership as Director of the CIA. 

"The additional nominations of Lt. General John Allen to Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan and Ryan Crocker to Ambassador to Afghanistan will add two more respected and seasoned leaders to the President's national security team.  

"Together these four nominations will bring together a strong team of experienced leaders and I look forward to working with them as we continue to address the significant national security challenges our country faces  today.”