WASHINGTON, July 21, 2010 – President Barack Obama has nominated Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis to serve as commander, U.S. Central Command, according to a Defense Department news release issued today.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recommended Mattis for the job this month. If confirmed by the Senate, Mattis will succeed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Mattis currently is commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command based at Norfolk, Va.
„General Mattis has proven to be one of the military’s most innovative and iconoclastic thinkers,“ Gates said during a July 8 Pentagon news conference. „His insights into the nature of warfare in the 21st century have influenced my own views about how the armed forces must be shaped and postured for the future.“
U.S. Centcom is based in Tampa, Fla. If confirmed, Mattis will have responsibility for operations from Pakistan to Egypt and Oman to Kazakhstan. He would be the combatant commander for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mattis served as the commander of the Marine forces that were first in Afghanistan in 2001. He also served as the commander of the 1st Marine Division during the initial push into Iraq in 2003. He left that job to serve as the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)