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Lloyd Austin

72 - Army Gen. Lloyd Austin
2012 Rank: 47

Commander, US Central Command
A member of West Point’s Class of 1975, Austin rose through the ranks in a variety of command positions to culminate in his taking over as chief of the critical CENTCOM in March 2013. Austin assumed the position at a time when the Egyptian street regularly exploded into paroxysms of violence as protesters raged against the Egyptian military’s takeover of the government, and Washington engages in delicate military-to-military diplomacy with generals in Cairo. He is also the point man for any military assistance the US provides for the Syrian rebels, while keeping a watchful eye on al-Qaida in Yemen, the Sinai, and other Arab Spring-related uprisings in the region. Austin brings years of Middle East experience with him to the job. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq in 2003 before deploying to Afghanistan. After a stint commanding the 10th Mountain Division, he headed back to Iraq as head of Multi-National Corps–Iraq in 2008-2009. He headed back to Baghdad the next year to wind down American involvement there in 2011. Most recently, Austin served as vice chief of the Army from January 2012 to March 2013.

Middle East Policy Congress Afghanistan