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05 Jan 07. Defense Secretary Gates Announces Recommendations to the President on Key Leadership Positions

“Today, I am announcing my recommendations to the President for nomination to key command and leadership positions in our nation’s Armed Forces. America is truly blessed for the service of the outstanding men who are leaving their current posts, and for the superb officers who have stepped forward to take their place.

“Generals Pete Schoomaker and John Abizaid are retiring after decades of selfless and accomplished service to the nation.

“General Schoomaker was in retirement during the summer of 2003 when he received a call from Secretary Rumsfeld asking him to become the Army’s 35th chief of staff. He would go on to direct the most effective and comprehensive transformation of the U.S. Army in decades – taking it from a garrison and division based service to an expeditionary force of more lethal, autonomous, and agile brigade combat teams. He strengthened the Army’s Guard and Reserve components with new funding, equipment, and training. As Chief of Staff, General Schoomaker led the effort to inculcate the Army’s “warrior ethos” across all branches and all components. A special operations officer, he participated in the Desert One rescue mission in Iran and would go on to lead the U.S. Special Operations Command before his first retirement.

“As a result of General Schoomaker’s vision and leadership, the transformation of the Army is well on its way, to the benefit of our soldiers, their families, and the safety of our nation. Every American is in General Schoomaker’s debt for his willingness to return to active service and embrace such a daunting assignment at a critical time in our nation’s history. We all join in saying thanks to Pete Schoomaker for his service above and beyond the call of duty.

“There is no officer at this time better suited to be Army Chief of Staff than General George Casey. A former Vice Chief of Staff, General Casey has the unique experience of having served at the highest levels on both the institutional and operational side of the Army. As commander of Multi-National Forces – Iraq, he has overseen the largest sustained ground forces operation by the U.S. military in a generation. General Casey knows first hand the capabilities the U.S. Army must have to succeed in the complex and unconventional campaigns of the 21st Century. I am grateful for General Casey’s extraordinary service and sacrifice – he has been in Iraq for 30 straight months – and subject to Senate confirmation, he’ll be superb as the next chief of staff of the U.S. Army.

“I am also recommending that Lieutenant General Dave Petraeus be promoted and succeed General Casey as commander of Multi-National Forces – Iraq. Currently the commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Center in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, General Petraeus has long been considered one of the most dynamic and innovative leaders in the U.S. military. As commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul – Iraq’s third largest city -General Petraeus oversaw a multifaceted program that within months established local government, restarted the local economy, and stood up local security forces. He would later stay on in Iraq to launch and lead the coalition’s program to train and equip Iraq’s army and police.

“General Petraeus is an expert in irregular warfare and stability operations, and recently supervised the publication of the first Army and Marine counterinsurgency manual in two decades. Dave Petraeus has been leading the effort to rewrite the military’s doctrine for defeating an insurgency, and, subject to confirmation, he’ll bring all the tools to enable Iraqi and coalition forces to create a stable and secure Iraq. He is the right man to lead our forces in Iraq at this critical juncture.

“In departing Central Command, General John Abizaid will cap what has been one of the most storied military careers in recent memory. In his 33 years of active

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