Command of the U.S. military detention system in Iraq has been turned over to a Marine Corps general, officials said Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone assumed duties as deputy commanding general of detainee operations for Multi-National Force — Iraq and commander of Task Force 134 on Monday.

Stone replaces Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who held the position since November 2005.

“For the past 17 months Maj. Gen. Gardner has done an incredible job leading the task force, ensuring the safety of our guard force and providing the best care to our detainees. The high standards that he set and maintained as the magnitude of detention operations grew are a real testament to his character,” Stone was quoted as saying in a news release.

The U.S. military prison system in Iraq has come under repeated criticism, from the Abu Ghraib scandal to the recent prosecution of a high-ranking officer accused of violating rules governing conduct with prisoners and handling of classified information.

There are currently some 17,000 detainees at U.S. military prisons in Iraq.

According to a Marine Corps biography, Stone is a Reserve officer who has commanded the Marine Corps Mobilization Command, the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

In civilian life, the biography reads, Stone has been an executive at several software and electronics firms. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds degrees from Pepperdine and Stanford universities and the University of Southern California.

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