Reports: MN native is Obama's pick to lead military's CENTCOM


A Minnesota native looks like the president's pick to be the next leader of U.S. Central Command.

The New York Times reportsGen. Joseph L. Votel – who is from St. Paul – will be nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Middle East-focused CENTCOM (as it's often shortened to). The nomination hasn't been officially announced by the president, the Times notes, and it isn't known when that would happen.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Votel is currently the head of Special Operations Command, which oversees special operations work for different branches of the U.S. military.

In that spot, Votel has "led the proverbial pointy end of the stick in the fight against the Islamic State group," DefenseNews writes.

CENTCOM, where he could be headed, is one of nine unified commands in the U.S. military, its website says. It's area of operation is essentially the Middle East, covering 20 countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

It's there to watch over the region, helping nations cooperate while deterring or defeating "nonstate aggression" and supporting development, the ultimate goal being stability and security for the area.

There's also United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), etc. etc.

Votel will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate (assuming he is indeed nominated). If that happens, he'd replace Gen. Lloyd J. Austin.

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