WASHINGTON — Army Gen. Joseph Votel has officially been named as the next nominee for US Central Command (CENTCOM).

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made the announcement today Thursday during a speech in Tampa, Florida. If approved by the Senate, Votel would succeed Gen. Lloyd Austin as the leader of the military command leading the fight against the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS.

Votel has led Special Operations Command (SOCOM) since mid-2014. The role of SOCOM in the fight against the Islamic State group has grown steadily since the fight in Syria and Iraq began, giving Votel a strong knowledge base of the situation on the ground.

"His experience in the Middle East region will serve him well," Carter said of Votel during his introductory comments.

"His background in every domain of warfare — air, land and sea as well as special operations — gives him the perspective and knowledge needed to lead the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines operating in this command."

In comments since taking over SOCOM, Votel has emphasized the need for special operations forces to work hand in hand with traditional forces, something he continued to say in brief comments.

"Special operations there are not in this fight by themselves. … We are very dependent on the conventional forces," Votel said. "We don't go out and do anything by ourselves. We are one part of a bigger team."

Email: amehta@defensenews.com | atilghman@militarytimes.com

Twitter: @AaronMehta | @AndrewTilghman

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.

Andrew Tilghman is the executive editor for Military Times. He is a former Military Times Pentagon reporter and served as a Middle East correspondent for the Stars and Stripes. Before covering the military, he worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in Texas, the Albany Times Union in New York and The Associated Press in Milwaukee.

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