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Locklear takes over at US Pacific Command
Commander of US, NATO operations in Libya takes over as top US commander in Asia-Pacific
By The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) ' The commander of NATO-led operations that helped Libyan rebels overthrow Moammar Gadhafi is taking over as the top U.S. military commander in Asia and the Pacific.

Adm. Samuel Locklear will succeed Adm. Robert Willard on Friday. A change of command ceremony is being held for the occasion at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters near Honolulu.

Locklear is taking over as the Obama administration implements as a new defense strategy that seeks to enhance the U.S. presence in Asia because of the region's economic importance and China's rise as a military power.

The 1977 U.S. Naval Academy graduate told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing last month that he would aim to improve U.S. military relations with China. He said China's military buildup is a source of strategic uncertainty.

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