Rodriguez to helm new ISAF command
KABUL, Afghanistan — Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be free to focus more on the political and strategic complexities of the Afghanistan mission under a revised command structure that will go into effect next week.
His top deputy, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, would assume control of day-to-day tactical operations.
McChrystal will maintain his role as both chief of U.S. Forces–Afghanistan as well as commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force at ISAF Headquarters in Kabul, but will delegate the day-to-day military and tactical running of the war to Rodriguez, who will now head up a new, subordinate headquarters called the ISAF Joint Command.
Rodriguez is currently McChrystal’s deputy commander of U.S. Forces–Afghanistan. Rodriguez was tapped for the post Friday, but that nomination by President Barack Obama is subject to Senate confirmation.
Though still predominantly composed of U.S. Forces, ISAF has expanded its multinational operation throughout Afghanistan in recent years. The new command structure is aimed at streamlining functions and clearing the four-star McChrystal’s plate to focus more on the political and strategic complexities in Afghanistan while ensuring that the war command is equally directed under the three-star ISAF Joint Command.
“What this will allow is at the [ISAF commander] level, we will focus on synchronizing security, stability, capacity building operations on a national scale, basically governance, development, those types of things and not focusing on the day-to-day tactical regional command operations,” said ISAF spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks.
“We’ve always done both of them, but it’s harder to focus on the strategic level of operations when you are concerned, rightfully so, with the tactical and operational-level approach.”
Under the new command structure, McChrystal will head up both ISAF and the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, and will oversee the joint command commander, the commander of the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and the commander of Special Operations Forces.
The IJC commander will be exclusively a NATO commander in charge of command forces and coordination with Afghan National Security Forces.