Harvard Kennedy School Alumnus Takes Command of U.S. and NATO Troops

June 17, 2009
By Lindsay Hodges Anderson

General Stanley McChrystal HKSEE 1997 assumed control this week over U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. McChrystal was nominated by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace General David McKiernan.

The Washington Post reports that McChrystal will re-assess operations of his troops in Afghanistan to focus on geographic areas that can be safeguarded and controlled by current troop levels.

"We are going to look at those parts of the country that are most important - and those typically, in an insurgency, are the population centers," McChrystal said in the Post.

“I know that I want it to be as effective a traditional or classic counterinsurgency campaign by getting people down in among the population,” McChrystal recently told the Wall Street Journal. “I know that's easier said than done with a limited-sized force, but we'll do that.”

McChrystal, who commanded the 2006 operation that caught and killed Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has an impressive military record that includes stints as chief of staff for the combined joint task force that conducted Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and as commander of Joint Special Operations Command from 2006 – 08.

In an article in the American Free Press, Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said of McChrystal: “[He has] the broadness and the depth that go far beyond just high-end special operations skills."

McChrystal graduated from West Point and joined the army in 1976 and continued his studies at Harvard Kennedy School, the Naval War College and the Council on Foreign Affairs.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education programs are designed specifically for public, private, and nonprofit sector executives who want to expand their skills in a highly collaborative, academically rigorous environment.

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