In the hallway outside General Dempsey's office in the Pentagon were the portraits of the 17 former Chairmen who had preceded him. These portraits were a reminder of the obligations of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: a deep understanding of our history, uncompromising commitment to the system of government established by our Constitution, relentless support for those who serve and their families, unshakeable resolve, and great moral courage. To remind himself of these obligations and the continuity of service he inherited as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey signed his name simply as 18.

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