Friday, General Lloyd Austin became the first African-American to lead the U.S. Central Command. This position’s responsibilities include planning and conducting operations for the United Command Plan which establishes missions and geographic responsibilities among combatant commanders. In his new position, which is effective immediately, General Austin will oversee 20 countries in the Middle East and southwest Asia.
According to the White House blog, during the change of command ceremony on Friday, the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, “General Austin brings to this position combat experience gained on the unforgiving battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. He has commanded some of the Army’s most storied formations, including the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions, as well as the 18th Airborne Corps…With his calm demeanor, strategic vision, regional experience and knowledge, and proven judgment – and with the love and support of Charlene and their children – I am confident General Austin is prepared to lead this command at a time of dramatic change, challenge, and turmoil in its area of responsibility.” (Amsterdam News)