|General Stanley Allen McChrystal, USA (born August 14, 1954) is the Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A). He previously served as Director, Joint Staff from August 2008 to June 2009 and as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, where he was credited with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but also criticized for his alleged role in the cover-up of the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident. McChrystal has a reputation for saying and thinking what other military leaders are afraid to.
McChrystal graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1976 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. His initial assignment was to C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, serving as weapons platoon leader from November 1976 to February 1978, as rifle platoon leader from February 1978 to July 1978, and as executive officer from July 1978 to November 1978.
In November 1978, McChrystal enrolled as a student in the Special Forces Officer Course at the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon completing the course in April 1979, he remained at Fort Bragg as commander of Detachment A, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) until June 1980, when he attended the Infantry Officer Advanced Course at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, until February 1981.
In February 1981, McChrystal moved to South Korea as intelligence and operations officer (S-2/S-3) for the United Nations Command Support Group—Joint Security Area. He reported to Fort Stewart, Georgia, in March 1982 to serve as training officer in the Directorate of Plans and Training, A Company, Headquarters Command. He moved to 3rd Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), in November 1982, where he commanded A Company before becoming battalion operations officer (S-3) in September 1984.
McChrystal moved to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, as battalion liaison officer in September 1985, became commander of A Company in January 1986, served again as battalion liaison officer in May 1987, and finally became battalion operations officer (S-3) in April 1988, before reporting to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, as a student in the Command and Staff Course in June 1989. After completing the course in June 1990, he was assigned as Army Special Operations action officer, J-3, Joint Special Operations Command until April 1993, in which capacity he deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
From April 1993 to November 1994, McChrystal commanded the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division; then commanded the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, from November 1994 to June 1996. During this time he would spur the beginnings of Modern Army Combatives by prompting a review of the existing hand-to-hand combat curricula. After a year as a senior service college fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, he moved up to command the entire 75th Ranger Regiment from June 1997 to August 1999, then spent another year as a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Promoted to brigadier general on January 1, 2001, he served as assistant division commander (operations) of the 82d Airborne Division from June 2000 to June 2001, including duty as Commander, United States Army Central (dubbed “Coalition/Joint Task Force Kuwait”) in Camp Doha, Kuwait. From June 2001 to July 2002 he was chief of staff of XVIII Airborne Corps, including duty as chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force 180, the headquarters formation contributed by XVIII Airborne Corps to direct all Operation Enduring Freedom operations in Afghanistan.
At the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003, he was serving in the Pentagon as a member of the Joint Staff, where he had been vice director of operations, J-3, since July 2002. McChrystal was selected to deliver nationally televised Pentagon briefings on U.S. military operations in Iraq, including one in April 2003 shortly after the fall of Baghdad in which he announced, “I would anticipate that the major combat engagements are over.
He commanded the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for five years, serving first as Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, from September 2003 to February 2006, and then as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations Command Forward, from February 2006 to August 2008. Nominally assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he spent most of his time in Afghanistan, at U.S. Central Command’s forward headquarters in Qatar, and in Iraq. Early successes included the capture by JSOC forces of Saddam Hussein in December 2003. He was promoted to lieutenant general on February 16, 2006.
McChrystal was considered a candidate to succeed General Bryan D. Brown as commander of U.S. Special Operations Command in 2007, and to succeed General David H. Petraeus as commanding general of Multi-National Force – Iraq or Admiral William J. Fallon as commander of U.S. Central Command in 2008, all four-star positions. Instead, McChrystal was nominated by President Bush to succeed Lieutenant General Walter L. Sharp as director of the Joint Staff in February 2008, another three-star position.
|Barack Hussein Obama II born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.
A native of (unknown origin) Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004.
As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009. On October 8, 2009, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In March 2010, he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, bringing about comprehensive health care reform.
Obama was hired in Chicago as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman and Riverdale) on Chicago’s far South Side. He worked there as a community organizer from June 1985 to May 1988.