Senate Confirms New CENTCOM, AFRICOM Bosses

The Senate confirmed Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to succeed Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as commander of US Central Command and also approved Army Gen. David Rodriguez to replace Army Gen. Carter Ham as head of US Africa Command. These approvals came on March 5, according to the Senate’s list of nominations confirmed. Austin currently serves as Army vice chief of staff. Before that, he led US Forces-Iraq from September 2010 through December 2011 when the US combat mission concluded in Iraq. During his Feb. 14 confirmation hearing, Austin told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that he “will do everything” within his power “to help set the broader conditions” for success in Afghanistan as the US drawdown of combat forces there continues. Rodriguez currently leads Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. During the same confirmation hearing, he said his priority would be increasing stability in Africa, a “strategically important continent.” Mattis, who led CENTCOM since August 2010, is set to retire, as is Ham, who oversaw AFRICOM since March 2011. (AFPS report by Karen Parrish) (See also Austin Eyed to Lead CENTCOM and AFRICOM Leadership change Announced.)