Dunford done, Pentagon wants Rodriguez confirmation

The Pentagon wants Gen. David Rodriguez to get his confirmation hearing and full Senate approval to be the next Africa Command commander by the close of the lame duck Congress, sources tell the E-Ring.

It’s been known for months that President Obama wanted Rodriguez, the former No. 2 commander of the Afghanistan war, to take the helm at Africom. But his confirmation, many felt, may have been slowed or derailed because of the investigation into the current war commander, Gen. John Allen.

Allen, due to pass the war reins already, was nominated to become the next supreme allied commander of NATO and all U.S. forces in Europe. That nomination is on hold pending a Defense Department Inspector General investigation into his email exchanges with Jill Kelley, of Tampa. The scuttle has been that if Allen’s career is abruptly halted, then perhaps Gen. Carter Ham, the current Africom commander, who is already based in Europe, could get the NATO job. The timing of that switch, in this scenario, would dictate Rodriguez’s fate in the Senate.

But some in the Pentagon say Rodriguez has not been tied to Allen. At one point, when the Senate postponed Allen’s appearance for his confirmation co-hearing alongside Gen. Joseph Dunford, it was thought Rodriguez  could take Allen's place at the table for a quick vetting, though ultimately he did not.

When will "General Rod" get his day in the SASC spotlight? Tara Andringa, spokeswoman for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an email to the E-Ring on Monday, “Nothing is scheduled yet (the committee staff has been tied up with the defense authorization bill on the floor).”

Debated closed on that bill on Monday. A final vote is expected today.