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Lt. Gen. John Kelly Nominated to Lead US Southern Command

Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly (marines.mil)

President Obama nominated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly as commander of the U.S. Southern Command, according to a Pentagon announcement Friday.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, who has held the position since June 2009. Fraser has not announced his future plans.

If confirmed, Kelly would be the third Marine Corps commander of Southern Command. Gen. Peter Pace, the 16th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led Southern Command from 2000 to 2001 and Gen. Charles Wilhelm led the command from 1997 to 2000.

Kelly is currently the senior military adviser to the secretary of defense. From 2009 to 2011 he commanded two Marine reserve units. Starting in 2008, Kelly commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during a year-long mission in Iraq’s Al Anbar and Ninewa provinces.

Southern Command’s areas of responsibility include Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea. Southern Command comprises nearly 1,200 military members, civilians and contractors.

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