The changes put Petraeus — who implemented the U.S. surge into Iraq — in charge of U.S. military forces in a dangerous part of the world. The command stretches from Pakistan to Egypt and from Kazakhstan to the Saudi Arabian peninsula. It includes the war in Afghanistan and, until Oct. 1, also includes control of Joint Task Force Horn of Africa based in Djibouti.
Petraeus will take over CentCom after giving his assessment on the post-surge conditions in Iraq. The last surge brigade will leave Iraq at the end of this month.
Petraeus called for — and Defense Department leaders agreed to — a pause before bringing the U.S. force in Iraq down any further. The decision on further withdrawals probably will not come until mid-September, and Petraeus will not leave the Iraq command until that is complete, officials said.
In another general officer announcement today, the White House has officially nominated Gen. Norton A. Schwartz to be Air Force chief of staff and Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb to succeed Schwartz as commander of U.S. Transportation Command, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Senate officials could not say when the confirmation hearings for the men would be.