The Pentagon says US President Donald Trump has nominated Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. for promotion to four-star rank and appointment as the next top commander of US forces in the Middle East as head of Central Command.
McKenzie currently serves as director of the staff that supports the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and has made multiple appearances at news briefings in recent months.
If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who has led Central Command since March 2016 and is expected to retire.
America’s vast military divides the globe into various commands. Central Command, based out of Tampa, Florida, is responsible for US military operations throughout the greater Middle East, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Persian Gulf and Yemen.
McKenzie has served in operational and senior command roles in Afghanistan and Iraq, as head of planning and policy at Centcom, and as the overall commander of all Marine forces in the command.
He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a graduate of the Citadel military college in South Carolina.