Seasoned combat leader takes over Africa Command

Fri Apr 5, 10:19 AM UTC

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — One of the U.S. military's most highly regarded combat leaders is taking charge of U.S. Africa Command to oversee efforts to stem the spread of Islamic extremism in Africa without committing large numbers of U.S. troops.

Gen. David M. Rodriguez assumed command Friday, succeeding Gen. Carter F. Ham, who is retiring. Rodriguez served two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, including as the No. 2 commander in Kabul during the 2010 troop surge.

They made the switch at a ceremony presided over by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Africa Command, created in 2007, is responsible for U.S. military relations across Africa, including air and intelligence support for the French efforts to root out an al-Qaida affiliate in Mali.