July 8th, 2010
02:19 PM ET

New Centcom head announced

Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis has been chosen as the new head of the U.S. Central Command, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday.

Mattis replaces Gen. David Petraeus, who was recently tapped by President Barack Obama to head the military campaign in Afghanistan.

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soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. ST

    I kinda felt too that Petraeus was demoted, perhaps he failed to properly manage MChrystal although his 3 strikes were no fault of Centcom.

    But really, if we are extricated with decent honor from Iraq, and "someone else" takes care of Iran or at least that waits, then Afghanistan is THE MOST important military job and has the potential to magnify Petraeus' already important place in American history.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wil

    "no better friend. no worse enemy."

    July 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carl

    I think the move was more of a "side-shuffle" than a demotion, given that the Afghan command is a multi-national one. It could be looked on as a vote of confidence in Petraeus being the better man to execute the strategy he devised and that McChrystal was executing.

    As for the Marines leading a Joint command, why not?

    July 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Eric

    Another interesting angle to look at this. I just read an article on who the Republicans could possibly put up against Obama in the 2012 elections and one of the possibilities was Petraeus. If I wanted to get rid of one of my political rivals, I would first demote him (commanding entire theater to commanding one country in theater), then put him in a position where I could fail to support him , and then point my finger at him when he fails. I'm smelling politics here..and it doesn't smell good for Petraeus.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DT

      You hit the nail on the head... At that level, it's always politics... Could back fire if Petraeus succeeds though...

      July 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DJL

    MGEN Mattis was Major Mattis, CO of recruiting in Portland, Oregon, when he signed my enlistment papers. I heard his name so many times at DEP meetings when we were welcoming another enlistee. I never knew him personally but I've kept track of his career, and I'm glad that he is doing so well. I wish him the best luck. Semper Fi.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George

    Gen. Petraeus will get what he deserves. He might just become the Army Chief of Staff because of this. Hell, maybe even chairman or vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Him going to Afgan had nothing to do with McChrystals behavier under his watch. The guy was a four star general. He should have known better. Petraeus is there because he knows the situation on the ground, and during a time when you just can't start all over again with a new guy who is not familiar the current plan. It's just too late in the game for a new face.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    I feel bad for Gen Mattis. He's a fantastic officer and probably every bit as good as Petraeus but right or wrong he's a nobody compared to Petreaus. Luckily Petraeus is a complete professional but I could easily see him , if necessary, saying "look Gen Mattis your job is to stay the hell out of my way and give me whatever I ask for" how could Mattis fight him on anything? He's the CICs, CJCS and SECDEF chosen savior. All three are completely vested in him. Their eggs are squarely in the Petreaus basket. But at least it's probably the best basket we have.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      You must not have heard of Gen Mattis before Bob. He'd turn in his stars for an M-16 and a pair of LCpl chevrons if they'd let him back on the line.

      July 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Eric

    Look at it this way: it's like asking you to give up a (nominally) superior post for a (nominal) lower post, but that is actually more meaningful in terms of duties and responsibilities and one they can't find abybody else competent to fill. So it is an honor and priviledge and you have a lot more influence than you would otherwise. Before this, Gen Pat could tell McCh what to do in Afghanistan. But now, i doubt Gen. Mat can't tell Pat. what to do or how to do it. Pat calls all the shots there and reports directly to Gates and O.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. svscnn

    Congratulations to General Mattis!

    July 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Polkovnik

    The best possible choice to replace General Petraeus! I hoped General Mattis would get the job, and for once the system actually worked!. Oh, and btw, I'm an Army polkovnik (colonel), not Marine.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gunny

      Mattis should've been CMC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Disgruntled Patriot

    Best of luck. This change offers hope against this seemingly chronic leadership void and failing war. That is my opinion.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NickB5


    July 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bert Torres

    GEN Petraeus will have direct LOCs to the CIC. CENTCOM will breathe through its nose and watch on matters of Astan.. No disregard of GEN Mattis but CIC needed the Astan replacement to be steeped in the COIN doctrine and current plan. Differentiator for GEN Petraeus is the license for ROE revision now in the works.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. reality

    Yeh just like the last Chairmen of the Joint chiefs, Peter Pace who could not lead a two car funeral if one car was out of service. Just what we don't need as with the exception of Zini, none of the rest were what one would call steller.in their senior posts.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Syphon Filter

    I am not against the war nor against the new appointee, but I know the truth hurts. I worked in Centcom in Iraq, and all Centcom is set-up to do is military propaganda for the U.S. government. Centcom should be abolished and disbanded. Nothing personal against this fine soldier, I am just speaking about the role of Centcom and it's true meaning. If you don't believe me then why aren't we aware that the tribal warlords in Afghanistan are bribed everyday by the U.S. so that e can get cooperation? Why don't we see the true pictures and videos of the war in Afghanistan? Centcom=Propaganda machine. Nothing more, nothing less.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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