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Marine General Picked to Lead US Africa Command

FILE - Marine Corps Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser, March 30, 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Marine Corps Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser to lead AFRICOM, the U.S. military's Africa Command.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter called Waldhauser the "perfect pick" to lead AFRICOM. In a statement, Carter cited Waldhauser's leadership, management skills and military experience. In 2001, Waldhauser led some of the first U.S. forces into Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

If confirmed by the Senate, Waldhauser would replace highly-regarded General David Rodriguez.

FILE - United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General David Rodriguez, Oct. 3, 2014.
FILE - United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General David Rodriguez, Oct. 3, 2014.

AFRICOM's main focus is bolstering African military forces and training troops to fight militant groups that include al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Islamic State in Libya.

"Every day, the men and women of AFRICOM perform a wide range of critical and important missions, including building partner capacity, enabling regional forces and combating the metastasis of ISIL and other violent extremists," Carter said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Carter said he is confident Waldhauser will bring the "same caliber of strong and steady leadership" to AFRICOM that Rodriguez has provided for the past three years.

Having become fully operational in 2008, AFRICOM is the military's youngest geographic command.

Waldhauser joined the Marines in 1976. He served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and in Iraq. He is currently the director for joint force development at the Pentagon.