Abizaid tapped to be Franks' replacement

President Bush has nominated Army Lt. Gen. John P. Abizaid as the next commander of the U.S. Central Command, to replace Gen. Tommy Franks, who led military forces to wins in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The victories relied greatly on the use of tactical computer networks, radars, sensors and satellites'the military's most extensive use in battle of such a vast array of IT products and systems.

Abizaid is now deputy commander of the Combined Forces Command at CENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., although he is deployed in Iraq.

Franks, a 36-year veteran, notified Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld late last month of his plans to retire in early summer.

'He has served our country with great distinction," Rumsfeld said. "I consider myself privileged to have worked so closely with him over these many months."

Abizaid is Franks' senior deputy in the Persian Gulf region. The Combined Forces Command handles military activities in 25 countries, from Kazakhstan in Central Asia to the Horn of Africa.

Franks was offered, but declined, the Army chief of staff position when Gen. Eric Shinseki announced his intention to retire on June 11.

Abizaid's nomination still has to be confirmed by the Senate.

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