Petraeus Gets New Title, Plans Pakistan Visit

Chief of US Central Command headed to region he oversees
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2008 2:51 PM CDT
New head of the US Central Command, David Petraeus, shakes hands with outgoing head Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, as Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, looks on.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Gen. David Petraeus’ first official trip as head of the US military’s Central Command will be to Pakistan, the Tampa Tribune reports. Petraeus was sworn in today at MacDill Air Force base, in Tampa, taking over from Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey. Petraeus’ new responsibilities at Centralcom include planning in 80 countries from Egypt to Kazakhstan, including Iraq, Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Petraeus would be in charge of “thwarting the malevolent designs” of terrorists and “keeping them from our shores.” Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Michael Mullen praised Petraeus’ record in Iraq, the Los Angeles Times adds. “His watchwords—learn and adapt—have echoed from the streets of Baghdad to the halls of Washington,” he said. Petraeus takes off for Pakistan tomorrow.