Big news on the war front this morning: Gen. Petraeus has been tapped as the next commander of U.S. Central Command.
Reuters: “U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday will recommend the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, to lead Central Command, the military command responsible for Middle East operations. Gates’ recommendation must go to President George W. Bush, who will then send the nomination to the U.S. Senate. Petraeus, who has overseen a war strategy widely credited with a dramatic reduction in violence in Iraq, will replace former Adm. William Fallon, who resigned after a reported break with Bush over Iran policy. Pentagon sources also said they expected Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, now No. 2 in Iraq, to replace Petraeus as top commander in that war. They said Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Gates’ military advisor, would likely become the No. 2 commander in Iraq.”
11:08 am. SecDef Robert Gates speaks: Anticipates that Gen. Petraeus will not leave until late summer, early fall. Expresses deep gratitude for sacrifice and service of all, singles out Odierno and his family (Odierno had just returned from theater and will now be headed back). Asks Congress to move quickly.
Gates: “I am absolutely confident that he is the best man for the job.”
Reporters asking about continuity of surge ops in Iraq. Allahpundit’s got background and links.
Question: Is there a shortage of talent when it comes to counterinsurgency?
Gates: “There is no question that there are a handful of generals, like a lot of our captains and enlisted soldiers, who have repeated tours in Iraq–partly for experience, they know Iraq…Adm. Fallon’s decision to step down was unexpected…”