Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith has officially been assigned director of communication and strategic effects for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and NATO’s International Security and Assistance Force, following a similar stint in Iraq.
Smith, who is the director of strategic communications at U.S. Central Command, is part of a "dream team" being assembled by new commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Smith gained notice in a similar position in Iraq, when he worked for Gen. David Petraeus — now commander of Central Command — during the "surge" of U.S. troops.
According to several published reports, McChrystal has been given unusual leeway to pick his subordinates in Afghanistan and is assembling a group of about 400 officers and senior enlisted who will rotate between the U.S. and Afghanistan over the course of three years. McChrystal assumed command in Kabul on Monday.
Smith, according to The New York Times, had been scheduled to retire this summer. But he reportedly changed his mind after a personal request from Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.