Dunford done, Pentagon wants Rodriguez confirmation

The Pentagon wants Gen. David Rodriguez to get his confirmation hearing and full Senate approval to be the next Africa Command commander by the close of the lame duck Congress, sources tell the E-Ring. It’s been known for months that President Obama wanted Rodriguez, the former No. 2 commander of the Afghanistan war, to take ...

YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images
YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images
YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

The Pentagon wants Gen. David Rodriguez to get his confirmation hearing and full Senate approval to be the next Africa Command commander by the close of the lame duck Congress, sources tell the E-Ring.

It’s been known for months that President Obama wanted Rodriguez, the former No. 2 commander of the Afghanistan war, to take the helm at Africom. But his confirmation, many felt, may have been slowed or derailed because of the investigation into the current war commander, Gen. John Allen.

Allen, due to pass the war reins already, was nominated to become the next supreme allied commander of NATO and all U.S. forces in Europe. That nomination is on hold pending a Defense Department Inspector General investigation into his email exchanges with Jill Kelley, of Tampa. The scuttle has been that if Allen’s career is abruptly halted, then perhaps Gen. Carter Ham, the current Africom commander, who is already based in Europe, could get the NATO job. The timing of that switch, in this scenario, would dictate Rodriguez’s fate in the Senate.

The Pentagon wants Gen. David Rodriguez to get his confirmation hearing and full Senate approval to be the next Africa Command commander by the close of the lame duck Congress, sources tell the E-Ring.

It’s been known for months that President Obama wanted Rodriguez, the former No. 2 commander of the Afghanistan war, to take the helm at Africom. But his confirmation, many felt, may have been slowed or derailed because of the investigation into the current war commander, Gen. John Allen.

Allen, due to pass the war reins already, was nominated to become the next supreme allied commander of NATO and all U.S. forces in Europe. That nomination is on hold pending a Defense Department Inspector General investigation into his email exchanges with Jill Kelley, of Tampa. The scuttle has been that if Allen’s career is abruptly halted, then perhaps Gen. Carter Ham, the current Africom commander, who is already based in Europe, could get the NATO job. The timing of that switch, in this scenario, would dictate Rodriguez’s fate in the Senate.

But some in the Pentagon say Rodriguez has not been tied to Allen. At one point, when the Senate postponed Allen’s appearance for his confirmation co-hearing alongside Gen. Joseph Dunford, it was thought Rodriguez  could take Allen’s place at the table for a quick vetting, though ultimately he did not.

When will "General Rod" get his day in the SASC spotlight? Tara Andringa, spokeswoman for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an email to the E-Ring on Monday, “Nothing is scheduled yet (the committee staff has been tied up with the defense authorization bill on the floor).”

Debated closed on that bill on Monday. A final vote is expected today.

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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