David D. McKiernan

David D. McKiernan

Overview
David D. McKiernan is a retired United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 four-star general
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 who served in Afghanistan as Commander, International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (ISAF) from June 3, 2008 to June 15, 2009. He served concurrently as Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from October 6, 2008 to June 15, 2009.

Prior to Afghanistan, McKiernan was Commanding General, U.S. Army, Europe and Seventh U.S. Army from December 14, 2005 to May 2, 2008.
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Encyclopedia
David D. McKiernan is a retired United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 four-star general
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 who served in Afghanistan as Commander, International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (ISAF) from June 3, 2008 to June 15, 2009. He served concurrently as Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from October 6, 2008 to June 15, 2009.

Prior to Afghanistan, McKiernan was Commanding General, U.S. Army, Europe and Seventh U.S. Army from December 14, 2005 to May 2, 2008. Before promotion to four-star rank, he served as Commanding General, Third U.S. Army and Coalition Forces Land Component Command
Coalition Forces Land Component Command
Coalition Forces Land Component Command, or CFLCC, is a generic U.S. and allied military term. In U.S. military terminology, Unified Combatant Commands or Joint Task Forces can have components from all services and components – Army ~ Land, Air, Naval, Marine, and Special Operations...

 (CFLCC) from 2002 to 2004, where he commanded all allied ground forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, and as Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command
United States Army Forces Command
United States Army Forces Command is the largest Army Command and the preeminent provider of expeditionary, campaign-capable land forces to Combatant Commanders. Headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, FORSCOM consists of more than 750,000 Active Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and Army National...

, the Army's largest major command, from 2004 to 2005.

On May 11, 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 asked for McKiernan's resignation from ISAF and USFOR-A. Gates said new leadership was needed as the administration of President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 launched a new strategy in the seven-year-old Afghanistan war.
McKiernan was replaced by two generals, General Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley Allen McChrystal is a retired four-star general in the United States Army. His last assignment was as Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan...

 (Commander) and Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 David Rodriguez
David M. Rodriguez
David M. Rodriguez is a United States Army general who currently serves as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command. He previously served as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces - Afghanistan from March 2010 to July 11, 2011...

 (Deputy Commander), ISAF and USFOR-A.

Army career


McKiernan graduated from the College of William & Mary with a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 in 1972. He was commissioned from the Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Reserve Officers' Training Corps
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a college-based, officer commissioning program, predominantly in the United States. It is designed as a college elective that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.The U.S...

 and entered active duty as an Armor officer. He holds a Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration
The Master of Public Administration is a professional post-graduate degree in Public Administration. The MPA program prepares individuals to serve as managers in the executive arm of local, state/provincial, and federal/national government, and increasingly in nongovernmental organization and...

 degree from Shippensburg University and an honorary doctorate in public service from William & Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

.

His commands have included:
  • 1st Battalion, 35th Armor (Iron Knights), 1st Armored Division
    1st Armored Division (United States)
    The 1st Armored Division—nicknamed "Old Ironsides"—is a standing armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Fort Bliss, Texas. It was the first armored division of the U.S...

    , 1988–1990;
  • 1st Brigade (Iron Horse), 1st Cavalry Division, 1993–1995;
  • 1st Cavalry Division, 1999–2001;
  • Third U.S. Army/Combined Forces Land Component Command, 2002–2004.
  • Seventh U.S. Army/U.S. Army Europe, 2005–2008
  • International Security Assistance Force
    International Security Assistance Force
    The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

     (ISAF) and United States Forces-Afghanistan, 2008–2009


McKiernan gained experience in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 as a staff officer in the 1990s. In July 1996, General McKiernan joined the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff G2/G3, forward deployed in both Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rheindahlen
Rheindahlen Military Complex
JHQ Rheindahlen, latterly also called the Rheindahlen Military Complex, is a British forces base in Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. JHQ stands for Joint Headquarters and the base has functioned as the main headquarters for British forces in Germany since being built in the 1950s...

 (Mönchengladbach), Germany. From August 1998 until September 1999, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters, United States Army, Europe and Seventh Army during a period of simultaneous operations in Bosnia, Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, and Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

.

Prior to these appointments he served in the VII Corps Headquarters during the First Gulf War (Liberation of Kuwait) and then as the G3 in the 1st Cavalry Division (approx 1992-3) in the rank of LTC. The first appointment was probably his first experience of working with other officers or formed units of other nationalities, in the second he had British Exchange Officers on his staff.

In 2001, he was assigned as G3 (Operations), Headquarters, Department of the Army. Following that posting, in September 2002, General McKiernan assumed command of the Third U.S. Army and U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT), and became the Coalition Forces Land Component Commander for U.S. Central Command in preparation for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In March 2003, General McKiernan led all coalition and U.S. conventional ground forces that attacked Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Following his assignment as ground forces commander, McKiernan was assigned as Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff for United States Army Forces Command, the largest major command in the United States Army which is responsible for the readiness and deployment of Army forces based in the U.S. Then he assumed command of Seventh Army/U.S. Army Europe. He was then assigned to Afghanistan as Commander, International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (ISAF) and United States forces-Afghanistan from June 3, 2008 to June 15, 2009.

Replacement and Retirement


United States Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 met with McKiernan in Afghanistan on May 6, 2009.
Gates announced McKiernan's replacement on May 11, 2009.
McKiernan's replacement was
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....


Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley Allen McChrystal is a retired four-star general in the United States Army. His last assignment was as Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan...

.
The Washington Post called it a "rare decision to remove a wartime commander."

The Washington Post described the replacement as one of several replacements of Generals who represented the "traditional Army" with Generals "who have pressed for the use of counter-insurgency tactics." The real reasons may be much more complicated, according to reports. The discussion to replace him started in March 2009, after a routine video conference with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. A battlefield update was followed by a series of questions on reconstruction and counternarcotics operations from Mullen and Gates, which Gen. McKierman was not well prepared to answer. This amplified the belief Gates and Mullen already had about McKiernan, that he is "too languid, too old-school and too removed from Washington", and lacked the "charisma and political savvy" that Gen. Petraeus had. Adm. Mullen was unhappy with the answers for his questions during that meeting, and after discussions with Gates, Mullen traveled to Kabul the next month hoping that he could convince McKiernan to retire. He refused to resign, as he had not disobeyed any orders and believed that he was doing what the administration wanted. Two weeks later Gates relieved him of command although he was the primary architect who changed the strategy in Afghanistan by requesting 30,000 additional troops that was later endorsed by the administration and implemented by Gen. McChrystal (at an additional level of 21,000 troops). According to Washington Post, Gen. McKiernan spent only a year in Pentagon, most of the time he was deployed outside the U.S., he did not develop strong relationships with Afghan leaders, he did not "fawn" over lawmakers who visited him as Petraeus in Iraq, he was too differential to NATO, and he was perceived as more involved with battlefield in Afghanistan and not dealing with Washington enough at a time when Pentagon seems to expect top generals to be skilled diplomats also.

McKiernan retired from the Army with full honors on July 15, 2009. Secretary Gates praised him for his leadership at every military level and presented him with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a United States military award which is presented for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to national security or defense of the United States...

 for his service. He also received the Army Distinguished Service Medal from his retirement ceremony host, Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey, Jr.

Iraq War Troop Levels Debate


In their book, Cobra II
Cobra II
Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq is a 2006 book written by Michael R. Gordon, chief military correspondent for The New York Times, and Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, which details the behind-the-scenes decision-making leading to the...

, military historians Michael Gordon
Michael Gordon (journalist)
Michael R. Gordon is the chief military correspondent for The New York Times.During the first phase of the Iraq war, he was the only newspaper reporter embedded with the allied land command under General Tommy Franks, a position that "granted him unique access to cover the invasion strategy and its...

 and Bernard E. Trainor
Bernard E. Trainor
Bernard E. Trainor is journalist and a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general. He served in the Marine Corps for 39 years in both staff and command capacities. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he began working as the chief military correspondent for the New York Times. He is currently a...

 suggest that McKiernan was unhappy to hear of the cancellation of the deployment of the 1st Cavalry Division, a 17,000-soldier force that was scheduled to arrive in Iraq as a follow-on reinforcement. Its deployment was cancelled on April 21, 2003 after U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld raised the issue of whether it was needed. Previously, shortly before the war, McKiernen won Pentagon approval for a new war plan that increased the number of ground troops, calling the new war plan COBRA II.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he had a different view of the battlefield than his superior, General Tommy Franks. McKiernan saw the Saddam Fedayeen fighters as a major threat and one of the "centers of gravity" in Iraq, while Franks dismissed the importance of the irregulars. The military was also surprised when McKiernan and his staff were not given command for post-war operations in Iraq, which instead went to V Corps and the newly-promoted Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez
Ricardo Sanchez
Ricardo Sanchez is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the Senate election in 2012 for the seat of retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.-Early life and education:...

.

Targeted killing


In a 2008 interview by Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

, McKiernan, was asked whether Germany was a particularly difficult ally because its government requested limitations on its soldiers' deployment in Afghanistan, feeling that it might violate Germany's constitution if they were to conduct a targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

, in the absence of a direct attack. McKiernan responded:

If ... the decision has been a legal and political decision back in Germany ... I accept that. But as a soldier, I don't understand it. I don't understand ever putting your men and women in harm's way, without their having the full ability to protect themselves. That also means operating on actionable intelligence to defeat insurgents, and protect your forces. That's how you keep your soldiers alive.

Awards and decorations


McKiernan awards and decorations include, but are not limited to:
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a United States military award which is presented for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to national security or defense of the United States...

 (with oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
The Defense Superior Service Medal is a senior United States military decoration of the Department of Defense, awarded to members of the United States armed forces who perform "superior meritorious service in a position of significant responsibility."...

Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

 (with two oak leaf clusters)
Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
The Defense Meritorious Service Medal is the third-highest award bestowed upon members of the United States military by the United States Department of Defense...

Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (United States)
The Meritorious Service Medal is a military decoration presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969...

 (with three oak leaf clusters)
Army Commendation Medal (with three oak leaf clusters)
Army Achievement Medal (with three oak leaf clusters)
Parachutist Badge (United States)
Parachutist Badge (United States)
The Parachutist Badge, also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings" or "Snow Cone", is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces awarded to members of the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy...

Ranger Tab
Ranger Tab
The Ranger Tab is a service school military decoration of the United States Army signifying completion of the 61-day long Ranger School course in small-unit infantry combat tactics in woodland, mountain, and swamp operations. In December 2009 a British NCO earned the Ranger tab...


External links


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