US Bolsters Command in Afghanistan

Gates deploying top brass as part of structural overhaul of Afghan campaign
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2009 6:54 AM CDT
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks to U.S. troops during his visit to Forward Operating Base Airborne in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, today.   (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)
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(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to dispatch three-star general David M. Rodriguez to Kabul to shore up military leadership, the Wall Street Journal reports.  Military officials say the move—along with the creation of a new task force—is aimed at ensuring "the Pentagon is on a war footing" after recent criticism of how the campaign is being run. The appointment would bring a second senior commander to the region for the first time in the 7-year war.

The bolstering of leadership with Rodriguez—whose tour in Afghanistan was hailed as one of the more successful counterinsurgency efforts—is part of a bigger overhaul of strategy that could see deployment cycles radically shifted to build a core of soldiers who are up to speed in both Afghan culture and counterinsurgency tactics. In between deployments, they would be stationed in Washington, rather than sent back to their home bases, to work on strategy.