Obama taps new Afghan War commander

President Obama has nominated Army Gen. John Campbell to command U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan as they wind down their decadelong combat operations.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that Campbell would be replacing outgoing commander Gen. Joseph Dunford, who was appointed earlier this month as the next Marine Corps commandant. 

If confirmed, Campbell will take the reins in Afghanistan as the U.S. and NATO combat mission draws to a close in December, then it transitions to an advisory mission. 

After December, a force of 9,800 U.S. troops will remain. They will eventually draw down to half of that by the end of 2015, and then to several hundred by the end of 2016. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Campbell, a four-star general, has been serving as the Army’s vice chief of staff since March 8, 2013. Prior to that, he was the Army’s deputy chief of staff of operations and plans, and served as commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 

Campbell is a 1979 West Point graduate who joined the infantry. He has commanded every level of units, from platoons to divisions, and has commanded forces in Iraq and Afghanistan at the battalion, brigade and division level. 

In Afghanistan, he most recently led the 101st Airborne Division as commander of the Combined Joint Task Force 101 in Afghanistan from June 2010 to May 2011.