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McHugh's post

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Finally, New York Rep. John M. McHugh will soon be able to take office as secretary of the Army.

This is great news and a proud day for Northern New York.

It was irresponsible for Kansas Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts to hold Mr. McHugh's nomination and other appointments hostage for several weeks due to parochial concerns unrelated to the appointments. America is at war and needs its new Army secretary in place.

That will now happen. The Kansans removed their procedural objections and the Senate immediately approved Mr. McHugh by voice vote. He is expected to take office next week as the Army's top civilian official.

So ends a distinguished congressional career of nearly 17 years as a new challenge for the Watertown native begins. As Army secretary, Mr. McHugh will continue his support of America's men and women in uniform, having served as a key member of the House Armed Services Committee, a staunch advocate of Fort Drum and one of the most knowledgeable members of Congress on military issues.

In his new post, the Northern New Yorker will advise Defense Secretary Robert Gates, President Obama and the executive branch of government on the Army's capabilities and needs to conduct its missions. He will oversee a myriad of matters related to the Army, including manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations and weapons systems.

Part of the job is to present Army policies, plans and budgets to the defense secretary, executive branch and Congress. Another is to keep the public apprised of Army policies, plans and achievements.

It is a significant job and crucial to America's defense. Mr. McHugh is the right choice for the position. He continues a great tradition of Northern New Yorkers serving in national leadership.

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