Major General Cone relinquishes command of CSTC-A to Major General Formica

Release No: UNRELEASED Dec. 22, 2008 PRINT | E-MAIL


US Forces Afghanistan

December 20, 2008

Release Number 20082012-03

Major General Cone relinquishes command of CSTC-A to Major General Formica

KABUL, Afghanistan - Major General Richard P. Formica took command of

Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan December 18, becoming

CSTC-A’s third commanding general. Major General Formica relieved Major

General Robert W. Cone, who returns to the United States after an

18-month tour.

General David McKiernan, commander, International Security Assistance

Force, and commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, presided over the

ceremony at the Kabul International Airport. The ceremony was conducted

in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of

Interior. General McKiernan awarded Major General Cone with the Bronze

Star Medal prior to the ceremony.

General McKiernan congratulated Major General Cone for the significant

progress made during his tenure.

"Winning in Afghanistan is about building Afghan capability," said

General McKiernan. "CSTC-A is at the forefront of building a

professional Afghan National Security Force."

General McKiernan credited Major General Cone with assisting the Afghan

National Army’s expansion by 26,000 Soldiers in the last year, tripling

the growth rate of previous years.  He said the ANA now leads more than

60 percent of the operations it participates in.

In August, the international community and the Afghan government

approved plans to grow the Afghan National Army to 134,000 Soldiers.

Currently, 68,000 Soldiers are assigned, and Major General Cone and ANA

officials have created plans to get to the 134,000 goal by the end of


General McKiernan said Major General Cone was the driving force in the

training of Afghanistan’s National Police. Just in the last year,

CSTC-A, under Major General Cone’s command, trained 25,000 police -

nearly a third of its current force of 76,000. Major General Cone

engineered the highly successful Focused District Development program,

which reforms an entire police district at one time. The resulting

reformed districts have proven effective in providing security for the

Afghan people.

Also under Major General Cone’s leadership, the Combined Air Power Task

Force and 438th Air Expeditionary Wing assisted in developing the Afghan

National Army Air Corps, which now flies 90 percent of its own missions.

The ANAAC transports the Afghan National Army and Afghan National

Police, as well as cargo, providing counterinsurgency power and mobility

on the Afghan battlefield.

Major General Cone reflected on his experience in his closing speech

during the ceremony, saying he came to Afghanistan focused on the

mission of building the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National


"We’ve made great progress on the mission as the Afghan army and police

have evolved to the forefront of forces protecting the Afghan nation,"

Major General Cone said. "But it is the friendships I have made with the

wonderful people that I will always remember."

Major General Formica also congratulated Major General Cone for the work

accomplished under his leadership.

"CSTC-A has a well-earned reputation for success," said Major General

Formica to the Afghan and coalition guests. "It has been well-served by

Major General Bob Cone, and its ranks are filled with talented and

committed people."

Major General Formica said he looks forward to partnering with the

Ministries of Defense and Interior and with the Soldiers and police of

the Afghan National Security Force.

"Together, we will build capability and capacity to defeat our common

enemy," Major General Formica said, "and to forge unity of effort to

achieve our important objectives: the establishment of security and

stability in Afghanistan."

The new CSTC-A commander’s prior tour of duty was Director of Force

Management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff. He said he plans to

carry forward Major General Cone’s initiatives in the months ahead.

In an interview following the ceremony, Major General Formica said, "I

intend to continue the great work that has already gone on. There are a

lot of great programs already in place for the Afghan National Army and

the Afghan National Police, and we will continue to sustain and build

those programs."

Major General Formica said a priority will be to grow the ANA and ANP as

quickly and as responsibly as possible.

"We also know that the challenges ahead involve how fast we can grow a

credible force," Major General Formica said. "And one of the challenges

will be to accelerate the growth for the army and the police - without

sacrificing standards - while we ensure capable formations to fight and

defeat the enemy."

Major General Formica, who is originally from Cheshire, Connecticut, was

commissioned in 1977 upon completion of ROTC at Providence College and

graduation from Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island. His career

includes field artillery commands from battery to Corps as well as

critical staff assignments. Major General Formica served on the Joint

Staff as the Assistant, then Acting, Deputy Director for

Politico-Military Affairs (Europe), J-5, Washington, D.C. He also served

as the Commanding General, Force Field Artillery Headquarters and Joint

Fires and Effects Coordinator for Multi-National Corps-Iraq from January

2004 to February 2005.