Military's New Afghanistan Chief Gets Free Rein

Allowed to choose own team as Obama prioritizes effort
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 11, 2009 7:47 AM CDT
In this April 14, 2003 file photo, then-Major Gen. Stanley McChrystal briefs reporters at the Pentagon.   (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
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(Newser) – With Afghanistan a priority for the administration, officials have given the new US commander there free rein to select his team, the New York Times reports. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s job “is that important. Afghanistan is the main effort right now,” said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. McChrystal has already tapped an experienced longtime friend as his deputy and the Joint Chiefs’ intelligence head as his intelligence boss.

McChrystal is applying a Special Ops-style focus to the mission, assigning 400 troops to rotate between Afghanistan and the US for at least 3 years. Top officials fought hard to get McChrystal confirmed: Harry Reid took the Senate floor yesterday top push quick confirmation, saying Joint Chiefs chair Mike Mullen had told him McChrystal was “literally waiting by an airplane” to go to Afghanistan.