CENTCOM has traditionally been a ground soldier’s job. Why give it to an admiral? Especially as there are two ground wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) going on in its theater of responsibility.
Here’s one worrying theory —
Pen and Sword: Navy Admiral Goes to CENTCOM: Be Very Afraid. It seems highly unusual for a navy admiral to take charge of CENTCOM until you consider two interrelated things. First is that Bush needs a senior four-star in the CENTCOM job who hasn’t gone on record as opposing additional troops in Iraq. Second is that Fallon’s CENTCOM area of responsibility will include Iran.
A conflict with Iran would be a naval and air operation. Fallon is a naval flight officer. He flew combat missions in Vietnam, commanded an A-6 Intruder squadron, a carrier air wing and an aircraft carrier. As a three-star, he commanded Second Fleet and Strike Force Atlantic. He presently heads U.S. Pacific Command. His resume also includes duty in numerous joint and Navy staff billets, including Deputy Director for Operations with Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia.
If anybody knows how to run a maritime and air operation against Iran, it’s “Fox” Fallon.
Meanwhile, Military commanders have apparently told President Bush that only 9,000 troops are available for escalation, with an additional 10,000 soldiers who would be “on alert in Kuwait and the U.S.”