Gates Recommends New Terms, Positions for Senior Officers
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 18, 2009 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced his recommendations that President Barack Obama re-nominate Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright as the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a second two-year term.
Gates also announced he has recommended new commanders for U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. European Command and U.S. Southern Command.
The secretary has recommended Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard to become commander of Pacom, succeeding Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating. Willard is commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
Gates also recommended the commander of U.S. Southern Command, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, to be the commander of U.S. European Command, succeeding Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock. If confirmed, Stavridis would be the first naval officer to hold the command in Europe. The commander of U.S. European Command also is the NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, and he would have overall responsibility for the NATO effort in Afghanistan.
The secretary has also recommended Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser to succeed Stavridis at U.S. Southern Command. Fraser is the deputy commander at U.S. Pacific Command, and if confirmed, would be the first Air Force leader of Southcom.
All of these moves require Senate confirmation.
“If confirmed, these officers would be taking up their commands over the next several months,” Gates said at a news conference here today. “I would like to thank the outgoing combatant commanders … for their decades of dedicated service.”
The secretary said the officers he’s recommending have the mix of “military acumen, strategic vision and diplomatic and interagency skill that their posts require.”