Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has replaced the top general in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Gates cited the need for a change of military thinking and fresh eyes, pointing to McChrystal's background in counterinsurgency.
"There is a sense, I believe, in not only the White House, but the Department of Defense and the United States Central Command that Gen. McChrystal has kind of that mind-meld with Gen. [David] Petraeus, that they see the problem similarly," says Andrew Exum, a fellow with the Center for a New American Security who served under McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan.
McChrystal faces potential roadblocks at his confirmation hearing. Exum points to the issue of detainee abuse and the aftermath of the 2004 death of Spc. Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinal.
"I do not think that as savvy a political actor as Secretary Gates is he would have let this nomination go forward if he thought either of these were going to be serious problems," he says. "But we will see how the climate is on Capitol Hill when his confirmation hearing takes place."