Kelly Confirmed for SOUTHCOM Leadership

The Senate last week approved the nomination of Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Kelly to lead US Southern Command, which oversees the US military’s engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean, including counternarcotics activities. Kelley will receive a fourth star for the post. He will replace Gen. Douglas Fraser, who has led SOUTHCOM since June 2009. Senators confirmed Kelly on July 26, the same day they voted in favor of Army Lt. Gen. Frank Grass to be the next National Guard Bureau chief, according to the Senate’s list of confirmed nominations. Kelly has been the senior military advisor to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta since March 2011. Kelly told the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 19 during his confirmation hearing that the demand for cocaine in the United States is the “real problem” in the war on that illegal drug.