Defense Secretary Robert Gates today announced plans to shake up the military leadership in Afghanistan by naming two new generals with a “unique skill set to counterinsurgency” operations.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon this afternoon, Gates said that he has requested the resignation of Gen. David McKiernan, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and has named Lt. Gen. Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to be nominated for a fourth star and commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan. McChrystal, former head of Joint Special Operations Command, is currently director of the Joint Staff.
In addition, Gates is creating a new post, deputy commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan, to be filled by Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, a former head of the 82nd Airborne Division who is now wrapping up a tour as the defense secretary's military deputy.
“With a new strategy and a new mission and an international approach in Afghanistan... this is the right time to make the change -- when we are at the beginning of an implementation of a new strategy," Gates said. "The focus here is on getting fresh thinking, fresh eyes on the problem and how we implement the strategy and mission going forward.”