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.
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.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.