Army Gen. David Petraeus has been asked to take over the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.
CNN says Defense Secretary Robert Gates will make a major announcement at 11 a.m. ET.
Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno is expected to take command of coalition forces in Iraq, according to CNN and AP.
If he’s confirmed by the Senate, Petraeus would replace Adm. William Fallon, who stepped down in March amid reports that he disagreed with the Bush administration’s posture toward Iran.
Update at 11:09 a.m. ET: Gates says President Bush will nominate Petraeus to run Central Command and Odierno to take his place in Baghdad.
“I am absolutely confident he is the best man for the job,” Gates tells reporters at the Pentagon.
He doesn’t expect Petraeus to leave Iraq until late summer or early fall.
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: Gates says he was surprised by Fallon’s request to retire.
“It’s my belief that General Odierno, General Petraeus and Admiral Fallon were all in exactly the same position when it came to their views of Iranian interference inside Iraq,” he says. “And it is a hard position because what the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and women inside Iraq. And so I don’t think there’s any difference of view among them on that issue whatsoever.”
Update at 11:55 a.m. ET: Petraeus just issued a statement: “I am honored to be nominated for this position and to have an opportunity to continue to serve with America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coastguardsmen, and Civilians.”
Blackfive saw this coming before the rest of us did.
Lefties were rooting for Petraeus to get the promotion — but only because they’re terrified he’ll run for President in 2012. I don’t see Petraeus running for President, but I’d enthusiastically support him if he did!
I have to wonder what this will mean for Iraq, however. Petraeus has done an incredible job with the rebuilding and stabilization process, and handled the surge magnificently. Losing his leadership in Iraq will be a blow, indeed — but Odierno seems to have been learning from Petraeus and hopefully will be able to step ably into the large shoes Petraeus left for him to fill.
I’ll update as more details are made available.
Hat Tip: Hot Air