AFRICOM Leadership Change Announced

President Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Army Gen. Carter Ham as head of US Africa Command, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Oct. 18. Panetta made the announcement during a Pentagon press briefing. Rodriguez currently is commander of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. He previously led NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan. Rodriguez “has served in a variety of key leadership roles on the battlefield,” said Panetta. Rodriguez’s nomination will require the Senate’s approval. Ham has led AFRICOM since March 2011. Panetta said the nation is “deeply grateful” for Ham’s service. AFRICOM is responsible for the US military’s engagement on the African continent, with the exception of Egypt, which falls under US Central Command’s area of responsibility. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)