Wednesday, June 22
June 22, 2011
Officials: Petraeus to hand off Afghan command sooner than expected
By Kevin Baron
Stars and Stripes
Published: June 22, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon wants Gen. David Petraeus out of Afghanistan by mid-July, much sooner than the original September target date for his change of command, giving the general time for a break before he takes over as CIA director.
Defense Department and military officials confirm there are plans for Petraeus to leave immediately after his deputy and operational commander Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez ends his term in country. Rodriguez’s last day is expected to be July 11, with Petraeus tentatively scheduled to leave July 18.
Petraeus’ exit, however, depends on the Senate confirming his replacement, Central Command deputy Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen. That hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
“[Allen] needs to be confirmed to take the job, and NATO also has an approval process that must be met,” said Capt. John Kirby, spokesman for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said Pentagon leaders want Petraeus to get a break in between jobs.
Rodriguez’s replacement, Lt. Gen. Mike Scaparrotti, is scheduled to arrive Afghanistan by the end of the month before assuming command of the International Security Assistance Force’s joint operations, a key position as daily battlefield manager and right-hand man to the commanding general. The two also met this month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state to prepare for the transition.