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Fallon Resigns As CentCom Commander
Bryant Jordan  |  March 12, 2008
Navy Adm. William J. "Fox" Fallon is out as commander of U.S. Central Command, submitting his resignation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates over what he called "the current embarrassing situation of public perception of differences between my views and the administration policy."

Those differences have supposedly been over Fallonís reported concerns that some in the administration have been bucking for a war with Iran, and that the fleet build up in the Persian Gulf was part of a strategy to spark one.

Gates said during a Pentagon press conference March 11 that Fallonís resignation will be effective March 31 and that he would be succeeded by Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Gates said Fallon told him that the perceived differences had become a distraction from the mission, which makes resigning "the right thing to do," according to a statement released by Gates March 11.

Gates said he told President Bush of Fallonís decision to resign and that Bush "has made clear all along that these matters are to be handled strictly within the Department of Defense."

According to the Pentagon statement, some of the misperceptions involved perceived differences over U.S. policies regarding Iran. Gates said Fallon fully supported the administrationís policy of trying to deal with the Iranian challenge through diplomatic and economic pressures and sanctions.

"So I don't think that there really were differences at all," Gates said. "But I think there is this misperception out there that there were."

But other reports claim Fallon has been fighting to keep combat operations from expanding to Iran -- a move reportedly sought by some key administration officials and backers.

Fallon reportedly refused to support a continued buildup of naval forces in the Gulf in early 2007 and was opposed to an attack on Iran, according to various reports.  He was reported to have told one source that war with Iran "will not happen on my watch."
"There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box," he was reported to have said.

Gates, in his March 11 statement, said Fallon will be difficult to replace, calling him "enormously talented, very experienced, and he does have a strategic vision that is rare."

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