navigation-background arrow-down-circle Reply Icon Show More Heart Delete Icon wiki-circle wiki-square wiki arrow-up-circle add-circle add-square add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up calendar-circle chat-bubble-2 chat-bubble check-circle check close contact-us credit-card drag menu email embed facebook-circle snapchat-circle facebook-square facebook faq-circle faq film gear google-circle google-square googleplus history home instagram-circle instagram-square instagram linkedin-circle linkedin-square linkedin load monitor Video Player Play Icon person pinterest-circle pinterest-square pinterest play readlist remove-circle remove-square remove search share share2 sign-out star trailer trash twitter-circle twitter-square twitter youtube-circle youtube-square youtube

Report: Special Operations Head Next CENTCOM Chief

January 6, 2016 (Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to tap Special Operations Command (SOCOM) head Army Gen. Joseph Votel as the next leader for US Central Command (CENTCOM), according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Votel would replace Gen. Lloyd Austin, who has led CENTCOM since March 2013. The move represents an early rotation for Votel, who only arrived at SOCOM in mid-2014.

As the head of SOCOM, Votel has led the proverbial pointy end of the stick in the fight against the Islamic State group. Special operators are the only known US forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and are expected to see an expanded presence over the next year.

Special operations have sometimes been seen as off in their own world, but in public statements Votel has called for greater coordination between special and conventional military forces.

Once nominated, Votel would have to be confirmed by the Senate. While the confirmation of some top Pentagon officials has been slow on the Hill, the importance of CENTCOM in the fight against the Islamic State group will likely result in a vote being called relatively quickly.

Austin's tenure at CENTCOM will likely be defined by the situation in Syria and Iraq. He has taken fire from members of Congress upset with the Obama administration's strategy in the fight against the Islamic State group. In particular, Austin was blasted after a Sept. 16 appearance in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee when he admitted the multimillion-dollar Syrian train and equip program had led to only "four or five" trainees.


Twitter: @AaronMehta

Next Article