For the Obama administration, passing the Afghanistan baton on to General David Petraeus is assuring it has a safe pair of hands at the military helm.
As head of US Central Command, his previous job and this move is in reality a step down for him. He was already responsible for overseeing military operations in Central Asia which included Kabul.
He is a firm believer in surging US forces into the heartland of the Taliban insurgency before a gradual withdrawal in July next year. That means there will be no change in strategy even if the man at the top is different.
In fact, it was in Iraq that he developed his ideas on how troops on the ground should try to win locals’ hearts and minds by making a sincere effort to protect the local population.
It was a strategy that won him a reputation as a brilliant tactician and a technique which McChrystal fully endorsed. But he differs from McChrystal in one aspect. He is reputed to be a media savvy military man.