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Austin `86 selected to lead U.S. Central Command

Gen. Lloyd Austin III
Gen. Lloyd Austin III `86 acknowledges Auburn University ROTC cadets during the College of Education's 10th Keystone Leader lecture program in October 2012.

Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, a 1986 graduate of the College of Education, has been selected to lead the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Austin, who earned a master's degree in counselor education from Auburn, has served as vice chief of staff for the Army since last January. He was the last U.S. commander in Iraq.

If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would direct the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan as the U.S. prepares to cease combat operations there by the end of 2014. A Washington Post article described the 59-year-old Austin as a "no-nonsense, hardworking commander." Austin earned one of Auburn University's Lifetime Achievement Awards in spring 2012.

He and his wife, Charlene, a 1985 counselor education graduate, served as co-presenters for the College of Education's 10th annual Keystone Leader lecture in October 2012.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta praised Austin's efforts in a statement released last week.

“During his final deployment to Iraq, Gen. Austin led our military efforts at a particularly important time, overseeing the drawdown of U.S. forces and equipment while simultaneously helping to ensure that hard-fought security gains were preserved and that Iraqis could secure and govern themselves,” Panetta said.

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2012

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