November 15th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

General tapped to replace Allen out of loop on Afghan planning

By Larry Shaughnessy

(CNN) - Gen. Joseph Dunford told Congress on Thursday that he was not involved in recent discussions about the future of U.S. troops in Afghanistan even though he is in line to become the top commander there.

"I have not been included in those conversations," Dunford said at his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing.

"I think I have an understanding of the framework within which that decision ought to be made. I have certainly identified what I think are the most important variables that need to be considered," Dunford, who is assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said.

"But again, I have not been involved in the detailed planning," he said.

There are about 67,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan with plans to end their combat role by the end of 2014. The Obama administration will make a decision within weeks on how many troops will remain there as a residual force, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said this week.

The United States and Afghanistan officially launched the start of negotiations on a security agreement on Thursday in Kabul.

While Dunford's nomination appeared on track, much of the hearing was devoted to the current U.S. commander in Afghanistan whose nomination for a bigger job is on hold over questions related to the scandal engulfing former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Gen. John Allen's appointment as NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe was supposed to be addressed by the Senate panel on Thursday. But consideration awaits the outcome of an investigation into Allen's contacts with a woman whose complaints about anonymous and potentially harassing e-mails led to an FBI investigation that uncovered an extramarital affair involving Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus resigned his post last week.

Still, several Republican senators at the hearing took time to praise Allen.

"I continue to believe that General Allen is one of our best military leaders and I continue to have confidence in his ability to lead the war in Afghanistan as well as to serve in the post for which he has now been nominated," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said.

Both Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, agreed with McCain's comments.

If Dunford is confirmed, he is scheduled to replace Allen in February.

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Filed under: Gen. John Allen • ISAF • Marines • Military
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. USN Ret.

    It appears the "sensor" has no concept on how business or military sensitive information is handled. If you are not currently assigned to the project you "DO NOT HAVE THE NEED TO KNOW". Three star generals are like V.P. if it’s not their area of responsibility they are not normally briefed. But when it becomes their problem they receive very in-depth briefings. I can assure you that Gen. Joseph Dunford will know every aspect of his new assignment. Also it is his staff’s job to make sure he is well informed.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:26 am | Reply
  2. sensor

    Lets just fire them all 3 stars deep. Inact a law they cant work for the Govt or a Govt contractor. America has better than these clowns who only perpetuate the same mindset and behaviour pattern to those that have to kiss their a** to get promoted or not have their career ruined.
    America can do better.

    November 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  3. sensor

    "I think I have an understanding of the framework within which that decision ought to be made. I have certainly identified what I think are the most important variables that need to be considered,"

    me too.

    That type of statement would never get you hired for any job or position. I think i know what needs to be thought about. Thats what the new Supreme Allied Commander thinks huh. This is what happens when admirals and generals lead from a desk in DC or Afghanistan, watching power point porn all day, bragging about how far they can run.

    November 16, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
  4. Hahahahahahahahhaha

    From the CNN news editor: "Hey all you writers.....how about from now on we don't use the words "General" and "tapped" in the same headline........OK?" Hahahahahahahahhaah

    November 16, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
  5. Guy Race

    @ poorrichfool you have raised points that were going through my mind when i was reading the article. Really surprising that such a senior officer who is to take over was not included, unless maybe they were discussing him.

    November 16, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
  6. poorrichfool

    I am worried about a military where a major command (Cent Com, Afghanistan) where the commander-to-be is not/has not been included in troop discussions; and his boss has time to send many Emails to socialites in Tampa. This seems to indicate that Gen Allen does not include the right people in his meetings. Or was Jill Kelly involved? I find none of the assurances (whether from Democrats or Republicans) very reassuring, especially when the high-level nominee is also clueless.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  7. pa sayitstraight

    mccain and graham and inhofe agreed. that's news? check their golf club membership and you'll see what everyone else seems to know. now if you want real news, try this: American President elected fair and square. Money did not buy the election, policy did. No Supreme Court intervention needed. No accusations of vote stealing, surpressing or fixing. Democracy worked this time.

    that's news, indeed – the kind we need. Now let the man get his job done and you capital L (osers) stop whining and blocking democracy at work. Remember, our boys have died and are dying to protect this nation. Don't make a sham of their deaths. Let Democracy work and you will see an America you can be proud of. thanks to Obama, who stays the course despite the dastardly efforts of those who cannot stand that a black man lives in the white house.

    November 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply

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