Gates Recommends McChrystal as New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2009 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today recommended Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to replace Army Gen. David D. McKiernan as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, citing the need for fresh leadership as the U.S. takes a new approach to the region.
Gates recommended that McChrystal, currently the director of the Joint Staff, replace McKiernan as commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The defense secretary said he reached the decision following consultations with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command; and after gaining approval of President Barack Obama.
“I made these decisions only after careful consideration of a great number of factors, including the advice of Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus,” he said. “In the end, I believe my decisions are in the best interest of our national security and the success of our mission in Afghanistan.”
Gates also recommended David Rodgriguez, the defense secretary’s senior military advisor, for the position of deputy commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan.