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Carter Announces Pick for Chief of Central Command

  • VOA News

FILE - Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel

FILE - Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced that Army General Joseph Votel will be nominated as commander of U.S. Central Command, which overseas operations in Iraq and Syria.

Carter said Thursday Votel was his "only recommendation to the president."

Votel, who heads special operations forces, would take over leadership of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State.

He would succeed Army General Lloyd Austin, who is retiring.

Votel's appointment would reflect U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to move into more special operations-related activities in the war against Islamic State.

Votel, 57, is a former commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He headed the secretive Joint Special Operations Command before taking over Special Operations Command in 2014.