USA — Senate Confirms Mattis for Top Centcom Post

WASHINGTON — The Sen­ate unan­i­mous­ly con­firmed Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis as com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand.

The Senate confirmed Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis as the next commander of U.S. Central Command.
The Sen­ate con­firmed Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis as the next com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand.
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Mat­tis, who pre­vi­ous­ly served as NATO supreme allied com­man­der for trans­for­ma­tion and com­man­der of U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand in Nor­folk, Va., received the Sen­ate nod late yesterday. 

Before adjourn­ing for a five-week recess, the Sen­ate also con­firmed retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clap­per as direc­tor of nation­al intelligence. 

In his new post, Mat­tis will over­see all U.S. mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in the Mid­dle East and Cen­tral Asia, includ­ing the war in Afghanistan and the draw­down of U.S. forces in Iraq. Mat­tis will replace Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who left Cent­com to replace Army Gen. Stan­ley A. McChrys­tal as com­man­der of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Sen­ate con­firmed Petraeus to that posi­tion June 30. 

Mat­tis empha­sized dur­ing his July 27 Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing the need for con­tin­ued mil­i­tary, civil­ian and region­al coop­er­a­tion to suc­cess­ful­ly dri­ve out extremism. 

“The wars we are fight­ing require high­ly inte­grat­ed mil­i­tary efforts from the high­est to the low­est lev­els,” he said. “If con­firmed, I will make every effort to work close­ly with civil­ian and mil­i­tary lead­ers charged with lead­ing our oper­a­tions, and to ensure they are ful­ly resourced in a coher­ent and com­pre­hen­sive manner.” 

Com­bat­ing the threat requires sus­tained pres­sure from coali­tion part­ners, he told the com­mit­tee, promis­ing to work to gal­va­nize inter­na­tion­al support. 

Acknowl­edg­ing that “the stakes are high,” Mat­tis said he believes the mil­i­tary com­po­nent of the U.S. strat­e­gy in Afghanistan is sound. 

“I believe that by stead­fast­ly exe­cut­ing our strat­e­gy, we will win in Afghanistan,” he said. “Noth­ing about the mis­sion will be easy. We rec­og­nize that achiev­ing our goals in Afghanistan requires also the endur­ing com­mit­ment of the inter­na­tion­al community.” 

Dur­ing an ear­ly July news con­fer­ence, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates expressed great con­fi­dence in Mat­tis’ capa­bil­i­ties for the top Cent­com post. 

“Gen­er­al Mat­tis has proven to be one of the military’s most inno­v­a­tive and icon­o­clas­tic thinkers,” he said. “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.” 

Mat­tis served as the com­man­der of the first Marine forces in Afghanistan in 2001. He also com­mand­ed the 1st Marine Divi­sion dur­ing the ini­tial push into Iraq in 2003, then served as 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) 

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