Senate Confirms Mattis as Head of Central Command

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Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis was unanimously confirmed by the Senate yesterday as new commander of U.S. Central Command.

Mattis was recommended by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and will succeed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is now commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

His most recent post was commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

In his new role, he will have responsibility for oversight of 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.

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

During his confirmation hearing in July, Mattis explained 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.”

Mattis explained his top priorities include managing efforts in Afghanistan, pulling out troops in Iraq, enhancing regional partnerships to combat extremists and carrying out CENTCOM’s mission.

Mattis has 38 years of service in his resume, including many commanding posts. He is former commander of the Marine forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and commander of the 1st Marine Division in Iraq in 2003. He was also commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“I am extremely mindful of the extraordinary privilege it’s been to serve for over 38 years, alongside America’s finest young men and women,” he said during his confirmation hearing. “I will hold our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines foremost in my thoughts.”

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