(CNN) — President Joe Biden is nominating Army Lt. Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla to be the next commander of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, according to multiple defense officials and nomination paperwork sent to Congress.
Kurilla would replace Gen. Frank McKenzie, who has commanded CENTCOM since early 2019. McKenzie’s tenure is scheduled to end this spring.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the nomination.
Kurilla, the commander of the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, would get his fourth star with the rank of general if confirmed to the new post.
Once confirmed, Kurilla will take over as head of the US Central Command as the Pentagon is still grappling with the chaotic August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, and keeping a watchful eye on Iran.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
Kurilla, who was seriously wounded in a gun battle in Iraq in 2005, previously served as chief of staff to Gen. Joseph Votel, who commanded CENTCOM during the Obama and Trump administrations.
During the Obama administration, Kurilla also served as the assistant commanding general and director of operations at the Joint Special Operations Command, which specializes in the US military’s counterterrorism efforts.
Prior to that, he served for two years as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division after holding several other notable posts in the military.
His nomination comes during a dramatic week for US troops in the Middle East, with military bases in Iraq and Syria that hold American troops having been attacked on Wednesday, though no US forces were killed in the strikes.
US-led coalition forces fired back after the attack in Syria, which was conducted by suspected Iranian-backed militias who fired eight rounds of indirect fire.
In a separate attack on Wednesday, at least five rockets landed inside the Iraqi military’s al-Asad base in western Anbar province without causing any casualties. The Al-Asad base also hosts US forces.
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