If you hadn’t heard (thanks to the media), Army Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez arrived in Afghanistan this week to assume his post as deputy commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Rodriguez will serve in that post on an interim basis as NATO officials create a new intermediate command that he will head in the alliance’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to oversee day-to-day military operations in the region.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates explained the rationale behind the new command structure and where Rodriquez will fit in under Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who commands both U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan (which is a pretty big job any way you look at it.)
“The problem we needed to address is [that] the commander of ISAF under the current arrangement has far too many responsibilities to be able to guide the tactical battle on a day-to-day basis across the country,” Gates said. “The plan is for General McChrystal and the [British] deputy commander — Royal Marines Lt. Gen. Jim Dutton — to have more of a strategic role in looking across the country at a more elevated level in terms of cooperation between civil and military efforts.”
The secretary said he hopes the new NATO command structure will be in place by August. “Immediately on the establishment of this ISAF headquarters,” he said, “[Rodriquez] will take off the U.S. hat and put on an ISAF hat, and his only role will be in an alliance role.”
As commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Rodriquez led Combined Joint Task Force 76, based at Bagram Airfield, from February 2007 to April 2008. This is the second tour of duty in Afghanistan for him. As deputy commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, he will direct the day-to-day operations and continue effective integration and coordination between U.S. and coalition forces operating under ISAF, officials said. Rodriguez most recently served as Gates’ senior military assistant.
Questions? Sgt. Stryker out.
The Patrol Ship Fatah Arrives in Umm Qasr
Two Iraqi air force MI-17 helicopters join a naval pass and review during the arrrival ceremont of the new Iraqi flagship. Photo by Capt. Tommy Avilucea
‘Swordsmen’ and ‘Checkerboards’ Stand by to Secure Jets
Marines from the “Checkerboards” of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 312, and a Sailor assigned to the “Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, stand by to secure jets during flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) is underway in the Atlantic Ocean performing a Composite Training Unit Exercise. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Felicito Rustique
Paratroopers, National Police Patrol Oubaidy
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Sorton from Pittsburgh, Pa., and U.S. Army Spc. Carlin Redhouse, right, from Kirtland, N.M., of 2nd Platoon, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk with an Iraqi national policeman during an assessment of civil improvement projects in Muhallahs 760, eastern Baghdad, Iraq, June 21. The projects include improving market areas, street paving and local sewers. Photo by Staff Sgt. James Selesnick
Stennis Conducts Northern Edge 2009 Off the Coast of Alaska
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), flies off the coast of Alaska. John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. Photo by Seaman Josue Escobosa
Guam Soldiers Train United Nations Mandated Peacekeeping Skills
Staff Sgt. Ray Jay Aromin, an infantryman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam National Guard, shields a role player from scenario-driven gunshots during a peacekeeping scenario as part of Exercise Garuda Shield 09, at the Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat, or Indonesian army, Infantry Training Center in Bandung Indonesia, June 22. Garuda Shield is a two week exercise brings together Soldiers and Marines from nine nations to train on the United Nations mandated ground-level tasks. GS09 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. Training will focus on peace Support Operations and Global Peace Operation Initiative Certification, a Command Post Exercise, a Field Training exercise and Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Projects. Photo by Spc. Jesse Toves
Factory Closing: Nasiriyah Home for Improvised Explosive Device Manufacture Raided by Dhi Qar Police
Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division catalogue munitions that may have been used in attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces seized by the Iraqi police June 13, in the al Zahara neighborhood of Nasiriyah. The find was one of the largest in southern Iraq over the past year, and was made possible by a tip from locals in the area. The battalion is deployed from Fort Bliss, Texas, to advise and assist the Iraqi security forces in accordance with the U.S. – Iraq Security Agreement. Photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens