WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has nominated Lt. Gen. John W. "Mick" Nicholson as its next commander of Operation Resolute Support, the ongoing US operation in Afghanistan.
If confirmed, Nicholson would replace Gen. John Campbell in the role.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook announced the nomination Wednesday, while confirming that Nicholson would pin on a fourth star in the role.
Nicholson is currently the commander of NATO's Allied Land Command in Turkey. From October 2012 to October 2014, Nicholson commanded the 82nd Airborne Division.
“He knows what It means to lead a responsive and nimble force and have it build a capacity of our partners to respond to immediate and long-term threats and remain adaptable to confront evolving challenges,” Cook said, reading a statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
Campbell has led the US efforts in Afghanistan since 2014. Cook said to expect more details on Campbell’s future shortly, although the Associated Press has reported that Campbell is expected to retire.
“For nearly 18 months, Gen. Campbell has given his all to the mission as our top commander in Afghanistan, and his personal sacrifices on behalf of his troops and the Afghan people will be remembered by us all,” Cook said, again reading from Carter’s statement.
Nicholson comes into the role at a sensitive time for the US effort in Afghanistan, with questions arising about the US plan to draw down to 5,500 troops by the end of this year.
Asked directly about US long-term plans in the country, Cook said there is “no change, right now” to the Obama administration’s strategy in Afghanistan.
“The pace of that will be determined by commanders on the ground, and there has been no change to that," Cook said, although he noted, “obviously we are going to continue to assess the security situation in Afghanistan.”