Lloyd James Austin III (born 8 August 1953) is a United States Army general. He is the 12th and current commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM). Austin is the first African American to ever head the organization. Prior to current assignment, General Austin served as the 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from January 31, 2012 to March 8, 2013. His previous assignment was as the last Commanding General of United States Forces – Iraq, Operation New Dawn, which lasted until December 15, 2011. On December 6, 2012, the Pentagon announced that President Obama will nominate General Austin to lead the U.S. Central Command. Austin was confirmed by the U. S. Senate on March 5, 2013, and assumed command on March 22, 2013. Of his service in Iraq, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said: “During his final deployment to Iraq, Gen. Austin led our military efforts at a particularly important time, overseeing the drawdown of U.S. forces and equipment while simultaneously helping to ensure that hard-fought security gains were preserved and that Iraqis could secure and govern themselves.”
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