Austin tapped to command Iraq forces
WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials announced Tuesday that Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin III will take over as commanding general for U.S. Forces-Iraq, replacing Gen. Ray Odierno.
Austin, now director of the Joint Staff, will assume command this summer, following Senate confirmation. The 34-year soldier had been in his current post since last August and led the XVIII Airborne Corps before that, deploying the corps headquarters as Multinational Corp–Iraq from February 2008 to April 2009.
Odierno has served as the top U.S. military officer in Iraq since September 2008. He is scheduled to leave that post by September as part of his normal rotation schedule.
U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down tens of thousands of troops from Iraq over the next few months, leaving fewer than 50,000 there by the end of the summer. Pentagon officials said they planned to leave Odierno in his current post for the bulk of that work.
No Senate hearings have been scheduled yet for Austin’s confirmation.