Keeping Flynn in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus, the new commanding general of the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan, is slowly reshuffling staff at COMISAF headquarters in Kabul. So it's significant that he's decided to retain the services of Major Gen. Michael Flynn, the chief of intelligence, an outspoken military intelligence innovator who honed his leadership skills as director of intelligence for America's front-line counterterrorism forces from 2004 to 2007. 

There, he refined and developed concepts that the military uses today to track, capture, and kill insurgents. 

He followed his boss, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, to the joint staff from 2008 to 2009, and then to Afghanistan, where McChrystal became the commanding general. (He also spent a year as CJ2 -- that is, Chief of Intelligence -- at CENTCOM.)

In the early phases of the war on terror, as director of intelligence for Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan, which included the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne, Flynn was responsible for intelligence gathering and collection for most of the forward deployed forces.

As Spencer Ackerman notes, Flynn has a pretty good idea of how to collect and exploit intelligence in a way that supports the goals of a counterinsurgency strategy.

A few other counterterrorism names in the news:

The director of the White House situation room, RDML (sel) Jeff Harley, will become the director of strategy of plans for CENTCOM under Gen. James Mattis. And RDML (sel) Scott Moore will become the chief of operations for the Joint Staff's special operations division, J-37. He's now a senior director on the National Security Council for combating terrorism.

Yesterday, Leon Panetta appointed a veteran of CIA counterterrorism operations, John Bennett, as chief of the National Clandestine Service. Bennett had been a senior manager at the Counterterrorism Center and was responsible for coordinating the CIA's forward counterterrorism missions, including drone strikes, during the final years of the Bush Administration. He was also a former chief of station in Pakistan.


Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in National

Just In