New Sheriff at CENTCOM

Army Gen. David Petraeus assumed the leadership of US Central Command on Oct.31, replacing Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey who has been acting commander since March. “He is the preeminent soldier-scholar-statesman of his generation, and precisely the man we need in this command at this time,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates of Petraeus at the change-of-command ceremony at MacDill AFB, Fla., where CENTCOM has its headquarters. Petraeus, as commander of Multinational Force-Iraq, was the architect of the surge of US forces into Iraq credited with leading to the country’s stabilization. He takes over CENTCOM, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, Near East, and Central Asia, at a time when US force levels are increasing in Afghanistan to deal with a resurgence of anti-Afghan forces there including the Taliban. The Senate confirmed Petraeus for the post in July. Dempsey, who stepped into the acting leadership role upon the resignation of Adm. William “Fox” Fallon as CENTCOM head, has been confirmed to the grade of general to take over the Army Training and Doctrine Command. (Includes AFPS report by Jim Garamone)