It's official. Gates has asked for McKiernan's Resignation. Gates says McKiernan did nothing wrong. Pretends that Afghanistan Policy has changed. Best of Luck to the new Commander as Gates insider is installed as #2.
Gates Recommends McChrystal for Top Command in Afghanistan
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden, American Forces Press Service
|WASHINGTON, May 11, 2009 – Citing the need for new thinking and new ideas in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has recommended President Barack Obama nominate Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the new commander of NATO and U.S. forces there.
Gates announced at a Pentagon news conference today that he has requested the resignation of Army Gen. David McKiernan, currently the commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal currently serves as the director of the Joint Staff.
“I made these decisions only after careful consideration of a great number of factors, including the advice of Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus,” he said. “In the end, I believe my decisions are in the best interest of our national security and the success of our mission in Afghanistan.”
Gates commended McKiernan for his efforts in Afghanistan throughout the past 11 months, and stressed that nothing specific went wrong under McKiernan’s watch. “A fresh approach and a fresh look in the context of the new strategy was in our best interest,” he said.
“At a time when we’re at the beginning of the implementation of a new strategy … it is in that context that I emphasize that the focus is getting fresh thinking, fresh eyes on the problems,” he added.
Mullen joined Gates at the news conference, adding that the two took a broad range of input from military commanders, and that there were no better choices for the positions than McChrystal and Rodriguez.
‘There’s no more critical ingredient than leadership,” Mullen said. “Clearly we have, in the two officers, a rich experience level. These two officers will bring a renewed focus for the mission in Afghanistan in 2009, and we couldn’t wait until 2010.”
Before serving as director of the Joint Staff, McChrystal was the commander of Joint Special Operations command. He’s spent the majority of his military career commanding special operations and airborne infantry units.
Rodriguez served as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, including 15 months in Afghanistan, prior to becoming Gates’ military advisor last summer.
McKiernan took command of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan in the summer of 2008. He will remain in command of both U.S. and NATO forces until McChrystal is officially nominated and confirmed by Congress. Gates said McKiernan is likely to retire after nearly 37 years of service following his official resignation.