The chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is retiring, citing personal reasons after coming under fire for the pace of reconstruction in Iraq and the failure of levees in New Orleans.

Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, commander of the government's engineering, design and construction agency, requested retirement "based on family and personal reasons, which the Secretary of the Army honors and supports," the Army said in a statement Thursday.

Click here to read the Army's news release.

Strock assumed the post in July 2004, overseeing an agency with a key role in reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also managed the agency's recovery efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina last year. Critics blamed him in part for the failure of the levee system there, which led to severe flooding of the below-sea level city.

Strock admitted the corps had overlooked a flaw in the design that caused some of the most significant breaches.