The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly confirmed Army Gen. David Petraeus as commander of the military headquarters responsible for U.S. operations across the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Senate confirmed him by a vote of 95-2.
It also confirmed, 96-1, the nomination of Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno as top commander in Iraq, replacing Petraeus. Odierno, who served as Petraeus' deputy in the war, will be promoted to full general.
Central Command is considered the toughest regional military command to lead.
As head of Central Command, Petraeus will oversee military operations in a region that includes Iran, Pakistan and 25 other countries as well as strategically and economically significant international waters, including the Gulf.
"Working together they have made dramatic security gains in Iraq and hopefully they will be able to build upon that success to create a more stable and secure Middle East," said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.
Petraeus will take his new post this year, likely after September, defense officials said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, when he picked Petraeus to lead that command in April, called the general the most qualified officer to manage "counterinsurgency operations" in both wars and grapple with threats from "Islamist extremism" throughout the region.
Petraeus' nomination followed the resignation of Adm. William Fallon after a reported break with the Bush administration over Iran policy.
Last Mod: 11 Temmuz 2008, 11:43