USA — Obama Picks Mattis for Central Command Post

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)