McChrystal’s Replacements: The Short List

Embattled Afghan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal met with President Obama this morning, and then promptly left the White House. No word yet on his fate. That McChrystal reportedly was not a participant in the subsequent White House national security team meeting to discuss Afghanistan and Pakistan is probably significant.

Be that as it may, we’ve got a short list of possible replacements for McChrystal, if Obama decides to cashier him.

Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, deputy ISAF commander
If McChrystal is removed, Rodriguez would likely take his place, even if temporarily, to maintain the most consistency in the Afghan high command. Rodriquez would likely be a place holder for some other officer.

Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander Joint Forces Command
Mattis oversaw the writing of the COIN manual with Petraeus and has been a very vocal advocate of the small footprint approach to foreign internal defense and counterinsurgency. He was passed over for commandant of the Marine Corps; some say sending him to Afghanistan would make up for it.

Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, deputy commander CENTCOM
Allen commanded the Marines in Iraq’s Anbar province during the surge period. Lately, he has been running down terrorist networks in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

Adm. James Stavridis, commander US forces Europe and our top man at NATO
Though Stavridis gets the complexity of coalition warfare and is an extremely capable officer, he’s not exactly well versed in population-centric counterinsurgency.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who heads up the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command
Officers who have worked under him say Dempsey is wicked smart, although, TRADOC is traditionally considered a pre-retirement post.

Gen. David Petraeus, commander Central Command
Some have speculated that Petraeus could shift over to head up ISAF and see if he can salvage another war that’s heading south at an accelerated pace.

If our loyal readers have any names to add to that list, please do weigh in.

— Greg Grant

  • USMC Fearless

    I may seem a little biased towards having a Marine Officer be heading the operation in Afghanistan, that being said Mattis seems the most qualified and its about time the army got bumped out of high command no slice against the army but a fresh perspective couldn’t hurt the operation.

  • Bob

    No matter how talented the replacement, and how much a warrior, he, or she, will still have to work under the direction of the Obama administration, and their on site representatives. Whoever replaces McC. will not have a free hand to manage the war as they see fit. However, it probably doesn’t who is appointed, we will withdraw next year, if not sooner.

  • Charley

    The key point is Mattis likes the small footprint - which works well with the internal politics of the Obama administration.

  • Chush

    According to the President’s twitter feed, McChrystal has resigned.

  • Chush

    And now he confirmed Patreaus.

  • Drake1

    I wish Gen. Petraeus luck in dealing with that mess of an Administration.

  • Nanonymous

    Can’t wait to see what Michael Yon has to say about this one….

  • Bob

    We now have Rolling Stone Magazine setting military policy. Based upon the claims of a reporter, we are playing musical four stars. Petraeus is not the answer. Dems in congress, to include Hillary and Obama, have already casticated him and called him a lier. We need someone the dems, and Obama, can trust leading the effort in Afghanistan. VP Biden would be a good choice. He has extensive foreign relations experience from his days as a senator, and the democratic congress would trust him. Another good possibility would be Sen. Kerry, He has military and spec ops experience from his days commanding a river boat. Again, he has the trust of congress and the president.

    I predict that Gen. Petraeus is being set up to fail, and will himself resign within the year.