According to Pentagon officials, top US commander in Iraq Gen. Ray Odierno will leave his position at some point in September as part of “normal troop rotation,” being replaced by Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin.
Gen. Odierno has been in Iraq since December 2006, and served as commander of the “Multi-National Forces” in Iraq and later the US forces in Iraq since September of 2008, when he replaced Gen. David Petraeus.
Lt. Gen. Austin replaced Odierno as second-in-command in Iraq in 2008, and has been in Iraq since. Odierno will reportedly move on to head the Joint Forces Command, apparently replacing Gen. James Mattis.
The September date for Odierno’s replacement seems to be centered on the Obama Administration’s plan to withdraw all combat troops by the end of August, a plan which seems increasingly unlikely as violence continues to rise in the nation. It is unclear, however, if any delay to the drawdown scheme will also mean a delay to the transfer of command.