WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced Tuesday that he is considering shifting the command structure in Iraq, adding a four-star general to oversee U.S. forces and help the country transition to self-rule.
He added that the change could come soon.
"It may very well be that we will want to make an adjustment and have some division of responsibility" between U.S. Central Command (search), which has responsibility for Afghanistan and 23 other countries, and the "tactical, low-intensity war fighting that's taking place," Rumsfeld told reporters.
"We'll have [a decision] in good time. We must have 25, 30 things like that we're working through now in advance, to try to see that that transition is as smooth as possible, and that we have the right kinds of command structures," he added.
Gen. John Abizaid (search), the head of Central Command, is currently in charge of U.S. forces in Iraq and has spent most of his time dealing with developments there while still trying to oversee events in the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa and South Asia.
Defense sources say a four-star general could be put in charge of the U.S. military in Iraq, liaising with the new Iraqi government and helping strengthen Iraq's security forces. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (search), a three-star general, would still oversee the ongoing battle against terrorists in Iraq, and would report to the new commander.
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