Egypt's Morsi Cans Top Brass, Appoints VP Orders top officials to retire, revokes military powers By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Aug 12, 2012 11:08 AM CDT 5 comments Comments In this Thursday, July 5, 2012 file image, Egyptian Field Marshal Gen. Hussein Tantawi, left, President Mohammed Morsi, center, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan. (AP Photo/Sherif Abd El Minoem, Egyptian Presidency, File) (Newser) – Egypt's president has ordered the defense minister and chief of staff to retire and has canceled the military-declared constitutional amendments that gave top generals wide powers. President Mohammed Morsi also appointed a senior judge, Mahmoud Mekki, as vice president. The decisions announced today are effective immediately. A spokesman said in a news conference aired on state TV that Morsi appointed a new defense minister, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. He replaces Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who headed the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months after Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February 2011. Tantawi was defense minister for nearly two decades under Mubarak. The military council's No. 2, Chief of Staff Sami Annan, was also ordered to retire.