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Mattis Taps Vice Admiral as Southern Command Chief

FILE - Rear Admiral Craig Faller, right, U.S. Navy Recruiting Command and Brig. General Alfred Stewart, U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service brief the media, Oct. 13, 2009, at the Pentagon in Washington.

U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Craig Faller, the senior military aid for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, will be nominated to lead the U.S. military’s Southern Command, which overseas military operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Members of the media overheard Mattis telling the news to the president of Chile and officials in a Chilean delegation in Santiago ahead of a public announcement by the Pentagon.

When asked why Faller was chosen, Mattis told reporters that he “understands the mix of diplomacy and high-level decision making,” which is important, he said, because “the role of the military is to provide options.”

“This officer has commanded an aircraft carrier strike force (and) he’s been the operations officer of U.S. Central Command in the midst of heavy fighting in various locations,” Mattis said. “He’s been in my office (and) he’s been one of the officers who was responsible for legislative affairs to the secretary of the Navy.”

Faller’s nomination requires confirmation from the U.S. Senate before he can take up the command post and the promotion to four-star admiral.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.