However, nothing is constant but change. The largest challenge in the CENTCOM AOR right now is the scheduled withdraw under fire in AFG - something that will be very different than the withdraw after victory in IRQ.
In that situation, someone who has some expertise and experience in that area is important, and it looks like we have made a great choice to follow in Mattis's footsteps.
Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the last U.S. commander in Iraq, has been tapped to lead the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East and the Afghan war, the Pentagon announced Thursday.Even more than Mattis, General Austin has not been one to seek the spotlight. One could argue that he has actively avoided it ... and that is good.
“During his final deployment to Iraq, Gen. Austin led our military efforts at a particularly important time, overseeing the drawdown of U.S. forces and equipment while simultaneously helping to ensure that hard-fought security gains were preserved and that Iraqis could secure and govern themselves.
He has a tough job to get us through 2014 while looking for 2nd and 3rd order effects in that part of the world that seems to produce more history than can be consumed locally. Best of luck General Austin ... and thank you very much General Mattis.
As a side note, I am especially glad to see someone from my pat of the world moving to COMCENTCOM, sons of the deep South do make the best Generals ... and though I cannot find his stats, it is also good to see after a series of smallish, wiry, triathlonesque types with four stars out there - that we have a good, solid, Grade-A soldier from the General Gray school of body types. John of Argghhh!!! should be pleased.
What is General Austin; 6'5" and about 250lbs? They make parachutes for guys like that? No problem finding him in a crowd. Anyway, I like that. Like the nation it serves, it never hurts to have a military that is as physically intimidating as it is intellectually strong.
You can get a feel for the guy in this DVIDSHUB b-roll.
He also has a great, serious, and humble presence at the podium.