Bush Nominates Officers for Key Leadership Roles
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2007 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced Jan. 17 that President Bush has nominated Navy Adm. William J. Fallon as commander of U.S. Central Command, replacing Army Gen. John Abizaid.
Fallon is currently serving as commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Abizaid has commanded CENTCOM since July 7, 2003, and is due to retire this spring.
Gates also announced that Bush has made the following nominations:
- Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus has been nominated as commander of Multinational Force Iraq, replacing Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. Casey has been nominated to serve as Army chief of staff. Petraeus is currently serving as commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
- Army Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik has been nominated as commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq. Dubik is currently serving as commanding general, 1st Corps and Fort Lewis, Fort Lewis, Wash.
- Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry has been nominated as the deputy chairman, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Military Committee, Brussels, Belgium. Eikenberry is currently serving as the commander, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan.
In a news release Jan. 5, Gates praised Abizaid for his service in the Middle East and expressed confidence in Fallon. “In departing Central Command, General John Abizaid will cap what has been one of the most storied military careers in recent memory,” Gates said in the release.
“A naval flight officer who flew combat missions in Vietnam, Admiral Fallon combines nearly four decades of military experience with fresh perspective to the challenges America faces in the Central Command’s area of operations," Gates said. “Fox Fallon is one of the best strategic thinkers in uniform today, and his reputation for innovation is without peer.”
Petraeus, who has commanded at Fort Leavenworth since Oct. 20, 2005, has extensive experience in Iraq, Gates noted in the release. He led the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul during the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he “oversaw a multifaceted program that within months established local government, restarted the local economy, and stood up local security forces,” Gates said.
Petraeus served as the first commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq from June 2004 to September 2005 and commanded the NATO Training Mission Iraq from October 2004 through September 2005. As he launched and led the coalition’s program to train and equip Iraq’s army and police, Petraeus was leading the effort to rewrite the military’s doctrine for defeating the insurgency, Gates said.
Casey, who has served as commander of Multinational Force Iraq since July 2004, is the right person to hold the top Army uniformed position, Gates said. “There is no officer at this time better suited to be Army chief of staff than General George Casey,” Gates said. “General Casey knows first hand the capabilities the U.S. Army must have to succeed in the complex and unconventional campaigns of the 21st century.”
Gates noted the mix of experience, skills, creativity and strategic vision that is essential in key national security positions and said Casey, Petraeus and Fallon possess these talents.
“We are engaged in three wars – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against jihadist terrorism worldwide,” Gates said. “As secretary of defense, and as a citizen, I firmly believe that Generals Petraeus and Casey and Admiral Fallon, as individuals and as a team, bring to the challenges that face us, the qualities necessary to be successful in war and to protect the American people.”
Petraeus is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee for confirmation hearings Jan. 23.