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Obama nominee McHugh sworn in as secretary of the Army

Associated Press / September 22, 2009

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WASHINGTON - John McHugh, a Republican and former congressman, was sworn in yesterday as secretary of the Army.

President Obama named McHugh to the Army’s top civilian spot in June. But the nomination was blocked by the two Kansas senators, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, over the prospect of Guantanamo detainees being sent to that state. The senators lifted their opposition last week after discussions with administration officials led them to conclude the detainees would go elsewhere.

McHugh, 60, was in his ninth term representing upstate New York. He was the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

He joins another high-ranking Republican at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The Senate confirmed McHugh’s nomination by voice vote Wednesday.

McHugh was first elected in 1993 to represent the district that includes his hometown of Watertown, N.Y.

The Senate last week also confirmed Joseph Westphal as an undersecretary of the Army and Juan Garcia III as an assistant secretary of the Navy.