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July 16, 2008

McMaster, McFarland get their star

Greetings from Baghdad. I saw that the Army released its list of officers it is promoting from colonel to brigadier general, and the Pentagon correspondent in me began searching the names.  My eyes headed straight for the Ms, where two interesting names appeared: Col. HR McMaster and Col. Sean McFarland.

Both are legends of the Iraq War for what many in the military consider their masterful counterinsurgency skills. McMaster, who wrote a revered book called Dereliction of Duty, lead a successful counterinsurgency campaign in Tal Afar in 2005. And through that effort, he became a member of Gen. David Petraeus’ famed brain trust. He helped craft the surge strategy. And has monitored its progress throughout.

He was passed over for a promotion the last time he went for a star, which caused an uproar through the ranks. McMaster speaks out, and in Iraq, made adjustments on the ground far outside his rank. Some of the senior officers didn’t like it; they saw such unilateralism as a threat to the Army’s structure. Others defended him, saying that is exactly the kind of soldier counterinsurgency requires. So when he didn’t get promoted, his career suddenly came to personify the Army’s struggle between its old way of fighting (and promoting leaders) and the new wars it faces.

Col. Sean McFarland was based in Anbar in 2006 when he crafted a system that eventually became a key part of surge. He built outposts in Ramadi, a onetime deadly city for U.S. troops. He reached out to Iraqis who had declared his soldiers the enemy and started negotiating. The violence fell, and suddenly the Army dropped its weapons and started considering other tactics to quell the situation there. That is, McFarland spurred a service-wide discussion about how the Army should approach Iraq differently.

So I think most will look at the list (which I have included below) and conclude that the Army is slowly adjusting what it looks at when putting a star on a soldier. Starting today, it is no longer as simple as following orders.

Here is the formal announcement:
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced that the President nominated the Army Competitive Category colonels listed below for promotion to the rank of brigadier general.

Name (Branch)
Current Assignment

Colonel Heidi V. Brown (AD)
Effects Coordinator
I Corps and Fort Lewis
Fort Lewis, Washington 

Colonel John A. Davis (30)
En route to:  Deputy Commander
Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations Defense Information Systems Agency

Colonel Edward P. Donnelly, Jr. (50)
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff, Army United States Army 

Colonel Karen E. Dyson (FI)
Deputy Director for Army Budget
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller)

Colonel Robert S. Ferrell (SC)
En route to: Director
Future Combat System Strategic Communications Army Capabilities Integration Center-Forward

Colonel Stephen G. Fogarty (MI)
Director of Intelligence, J-2
United States Central Command

Colonel Michael X. Garrett (IN)
Enroute to:  Senior Military Fellow
Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

Colonel Thomas A. Harvey (TC)
Assistant Chief of Staff, C-4/J-4 United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/ United States Forces Korea/ Deputy Commander (Support), Eighth United States Army/ Deputy 
Commander, United States Forces Korea (Advanced Element)

Colonel Thomas A. Horlander (45)
En route to:  Director, Resource Management Installation Management Command

Colonel Paul J. Lacamera (IN)
United States Joint Special Operations Command
Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Colonel Sean B. MacFarland (AR)
Commander
Joint Task Force North
United States Northern Command

Colonel Kevin W. Mangum (AV)
Senior Commander, Fort Drum
10th Mountain Division (Light) and Fort Drum
Fort Drum, New York 

Colonel Robert M. McCaleb (49)
Deputy Director
Program Analysis and Evaluation
Officer of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 United States Army

Colonel Colleen L. McGuire (MP)
Director, Senior Leader Development
Office of the Chief of Staff, Army

Colonel Herbert R. McMaster, Jr. (AR)
En route to: Director Concepts Development and Experimentation Army Capabilities Integration
Center Unites States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Fort Monroe, Virginia 

Colonel Austin S. Miller (IN)
Deputy Director for Special Operations
J-37, The Joint Staff

Colonel John M. Murray (IN)
Deputy Commander
1st Cavalry Division
Fort Hood, Texas   

Colonel Richard P. Mustion (AG)
Commander United States Army Soldier Support Institute

Colonel Camille M. Nichols (AC)
Commander
United States Army Expeditionary Contracting Command
Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Colonel John R. O Connor (TC)
Deputy Commander/Director of Operations Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Building 661, Sheppard Place Fort Eustis,  Virginia

Colonel Lawarren V. Patterson (SC)
Chief Joint/Current Operations Division Office of the Army Chief Information Officer/G-6

Colonel Gustave F. Perna (OD)
Commander
Defense Supply Center Philadelphia

Colonel Warren E. Phipps, Jr. (AV)
Deputy Commander/Assistant Commandant United States Army Aviation Center
Fort Rucker, Alabama

Colonel Gregg C. Potter (MI)
United States Army Intelligence and Security Command Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Colonel Nancy L. Price (AC)
Deputy Program Manager
Future Combat System Brigade Combat Team Program Integration (Network/Complementary Programs)
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 

Colonel Edward M. Reeder, Jr. (SF)
Executive Officer to the Commander
United States Special Operations Command
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida 

Colonel Ross E. Ridge (FA)
Chief of Staff, Strategic Effects
Multi-National Forces- Iraq
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq

Colonel Jess A. Scarbrough (AC)
Assistant Deputy for Acquistion and Systems Management Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)

Colonel Michael H. Shields (IN)
Assistant Deputy Director
Politico-Military (Europe and Africa Affairs), J-5 The Joint Staff

Colonel Jefforey A. Smith (IN)
Assistant Division Commander (Support), 10th Mountain Division (Light)/ Multi-National Division - Center
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq

Colonel Leslie C. Smith (CM)
Commandant
United States Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear  School/Deputy Commander, Material and Technology United States Army Maneuver Support Center 
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri 

Colonel Jeffrey J. Snow (IN)
Commander
20th Support Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive)
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland

Colonel Kurt S. Story (40)
Deputy Commander (Operations) United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/ United States  Army
Forces Strategic Command
Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado

Colonel Kenneth E. Tovo (SF)
Deputy Commander
Special Operations Command Europe
United States European Command

Colonel Stephen J. Townsend (IN)
Executive Officer to the Commander, United States Central Command
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida

Colonel John Uberti (FA)
Commander
Installation Management Command Korea Region

Colonel Thomas S. Vandal (FA)
Deputy Commander (Maneuver) 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Fort Stewart, Georgia 

Colonel Bryan G. Watson (EN)
Chief of Staff 1st Armored Division
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq 

Colonel John F. Wharton (QM)
Deputy Commander
United States Army Field Support Command with duty as Commander, Army
Materiel Command Forward-Southwest Asia/G-4, United States Army  Central

Colonel Mark W. Yenter (EN)
Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 United States Army

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