From NBC's Jim Miklaszewski
In high-level shakeup, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will announce today that he is replacing Gen. David McKiernan as the top U.S. and NATO military commander in Afghanistan with General Stan McChrystal, the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to Pentagon officials, the shift is being made to coincide with the Obama administration's new strategy in Afghanistan, which is aimed more at "counter-insurgency" than conventional military operations.
The officials say McKiernan, who's been top U.S. commander in Afghanistan for about a year was too much "old army." McChrystal, on the other hand, was one of the top Special Operations Forces commanders who led the operation that killed al Qaeda's top leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Gates and CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus reportedly decided McChrystal was the most logical and best choice to lead the new counter-insurgency, counter-narcotics campaign in Afghanistan.
Since Gen. McChrystal will also be the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gates reportedly consulted his NATO counterparts before making the move.