AUG 23, 2018: Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie has been chosen as the next commander of US Central Command, which oversees US troops in the Middle East and Central Asia, when Gen. Joseph Votel retires next spring.
He will also be promoted to a four-star General.
McKenzie currently serves in the Pentagon as the Director of the Joint Staff. His selection requires confirmation by Congress.
McKenzie has served in operational and senior command roles in Afghanistan and Iraq, as head of planning and policy at Centcom, and as the overall commander of all Marine forces in the command.
From its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, CENTCOM’s area of command stretches from Egypt to Pakistan including Afghanistan where a US-led move to jump-starting the Afghan peace process is in the works.
Votel, who has led Central Command since March 2016 is expected to retire.
McKenzie’s nomination is the latest in an expected turnover in leadership for many of the U.S. combatant commands. Last week, the Pentagon announced the military aid for Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Vice Adm. Craig Faller, was nominated to lead U.S. Southern Command. He would replace Adm. Kurt Tidd. Adm. Phil Davidson replaced now-retired Adm. Harry Harris earlier this year as the head of the newly renamed Indo-Pacific Command.
The replacement for Special Operations Command commander, Army Gen. Tony Thomas, is set to be announced soon. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Lt. Gen. Richard Clarke is set to replace Thomas.