WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, commented on today’s announcement by Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates asking for the resignation of the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan. To replace General McKiernan, Secretary Gates has nominated Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, a former special operations commander, and the current director of the Joint Staff. He also announced that Lieutenant General David M. Rodriguez, who currently serves as top military aide to Secretary Gates, will serve as deputy to McChrystal in Afghanistan. Secretary Gates made the announcement earlier today at a Pentagon news conference alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.
“General McKiernan is a combat proven warrior – a man who epitomizes the words honor and integrity,” Senator Inhofe said. “I had the great privilege to meet with General McKiernan in Afghanistan last December and again this past month. He has always demonstrated a clear understanding of what was needed to succeed in Afghanistan and he continually pressed for additional troops in order to achieve that success. He also oversaw the initial troop increases under the Bush administration and the current increase in U.S. troops ordered by President Obama.
“I also want to warmly welcome both Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal and Lieutenant General David M. Rodriguez to their new posts. They are two of the most qualified generals in the Army, and are extremely respected across the services. I am confident in their leadership styles and their expertise to successfully execute the mission in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant General McChrystal is currently the director of the joint staff. From 2006 to August 2008, he was the former commander of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, responsible for tracking down high-level leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, including its former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Lieutenant General Rodriguez is a career infantry officer and Gulf War (1991) veteran. He was previously the 82d Airborne Division Commander at Ft Bragg, Commander of Multi-National Division – Northwest in Iraq, and the Assistant Division Commander, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood.