US President George W. Bush on Tuesday chose Lieutenant General Douglas Lute as the "war czar" to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I have chosen Lieutenant General Douglas Lute to serve as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan," Bush said in a statement.
Bush said Lute, currently serving as the director of operations of the Joint Staff and a former leader of US military forces in the Middle East, "is a tremendously accomplished military leader who understands war and government and knows how to get things done."
In the new position, Lute would be "the full-time manager for the implementation and execution of our strategies for Iraq and Afghanistan, and will manage the interagency policy development process for these two theaters," Bush said.
Lute, 54, has been director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff since September last year. Before that, he served as director of operations at US Central Command.
The Washington Post reported last month that the White House intended to appoint a "war czar" to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the high-power post would have authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies.
The administration's interest in the idea stemmed from long-standing concern over the coordination of civilian and military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan by different parts of the US government, but at least three retired four-star generals had declined the offer, according to the report.
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2007)