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