(WASHINGTON) — Gen. Lloyd Austin III is President Obama’s choice to become the next head of the U.S. Central Command for the Middle East.
If confirmed by the Senate, the 59-year-old four-star general will also become the first African-American to lead the U.S. Central Command.
Currently the 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Austin was instrumental in overseeing the final U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq that concluded at the end of last year when he was appointed Commanding General of U.S. forces in that country.
Austin also has experience as a combat leader when he was put in charge of the 3rd Infantry Division that marched into Iraq shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in late March 2003.
The general also spent time in Afghanistan as head of the 10th Mountain Division.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Euan McKirdy, Bryony Jones and Barry Neild, CNN
Tim Hume, CNN Newswire