Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Army gets coveted geographical command, at last

Army gets geographical command, at last

The Army stepped to the fore last month, winning one of the armed forces’ most coveted commands after having seen Marine Corps generals selected in recent years to head operations in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Europe.
The Pentagon announced that Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Army vice chief of staff and the last commander in Iraq, would take over U.S. Central Command — a pivotal post, given the unrest in Egypt and the possibility of war in Iran. After Senate confirmation, he will succeed Marine Gen. James N. Mattis.
The Air Force had been in the running for the four-star post because any decision to strike Iran’s nuclear sites would involve a large bombing campaign lasting days.
Previously, a Marine general was tapped to run NATO and another Marine selected to succeed that officer to lead the war in Afghanistan.
Lloyd Austin has strategic vision and significant operational savvy, which will be extremely helpful in dealing with Iran and the rise of radical Islam in the Middle East,” retired ArmyGen. Jack Keane said.
The inside politics of winning what is called a geographic combatant command is downplayed publicly by the Pentagon.
But for the military branches, such an assignment is an important prize. There is the prestige of commanding combat troops, ships and planes, with a direct chain of command to the defense secretary.

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