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Senate Approves Army Vice Chief of Staff to Lead U.S. Central Command

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David Vergun

Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III will take over as the next leader of U.S. Central Command based at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base.

CENTCOM is currently led by Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis who is set to retire this year. The command is responsible for 20 countries in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Yemen.

Austin, currently the Army's vice chief of staff, was confirmed by the Senate earlier this week along with a new commander for the U.S. Africa Command.

The commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, will take over at AFRICOM based in Stuttgart, Germany.

Austin and Rodriguez testified together during their confirmation hearing Feb. 14, 2013.

According to a report by the Armed Forces Press Service, Austin told Senate Armed Services Committee members the war in Afghanistan remains CENTCOM’s top priority.

“I will do everything within my power to help set the broader conditions for our success in this most important endeavor,” Austin said.