Ex-commander in Afghanistan eyed for Africa command
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, a former top commander in Afghanistan, has been chosen by the Pentagon to take charge of U.S. Africa Command, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Under plans that still need approval from the White House and confirmation by the Senate, Rodriguez would take over early next year from Gen. Carter Ham in what two American officials told the newspaper was a routine change of command.
Because of the presidential election and the need to get the necessary paperwork ready, Rodriguez’s expected nomination would probably not go to the Senate for confirmation until the postelection session, the officials told the Times.
In his current job as head of the Army’s Forces Command, Rodriguez is responsible for training and equipping 265,000 active-duty soldiers, as well as training and overseeing the readiness of 560,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
A West Point graduate, Rodriguez has extensive combat experience. He served two tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan, including a stint in eastern Afghanistan as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and later as deputy commander of allied forces there with responsibility for the day-to-day management of the war.
Rodriguez was one of the architects of the operation in which President Obama ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in late 2009.
The Times notes that in the wake of the Arab Spring has become one of the Defense Department’s most challenging theaters of operation.
The recent attack on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, by Islamic militants underscores the fallout from the Arab Spring that Rodriguez would face, the Times wrote. The command also must contend with Islamic extremists in Nigeria, affiliates of Al-Qaida in Mali and Somalia, and the remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Ugandan rebels who have terrorized parts of Africa for more than 20 years.
Source: The New York Times