I just heard that General Petraeus has asked the very well respected Colonel H.R. McMaster to be part of his Iraq team. McMaster wrote a terrific book about Vietnam and successfully attempted to use counterinsurgency tactics in Tal Afar last year (although as with Petraeus in Mosul, the success diminished after McMaster's team left). With McMaster and Colonel Pete Mansoor, who was the General's lead counterinsurgency tactician at Fort Leavenworth, Petraeus has demonstrated that he is bringing the very best minds to the mission in Baghdad. "He's not afraid of being surrounded by smart people," an active-duty friend of mine said. "You'd be surprised how many generals are."
I've been a fan of McMaster's since he was a CPT in the Gulf War and his troop (from the 2nd ACR) of armored cavalry destroyed an Iraqi Republican Guard armored battalion (3 times the size of his unit) in the Battle of 73 Easting. He's been a squadron commander and a regimental commander of armored cavalry units. His most recent command was the 3rd ACR at Tal Afar where he implemented the new COIN doctrine successfully and actually did win the hearts and minds of the locals. McMaster also holds a PhD from UNC, a scholar-soldier who will bring to the effort in Baghdad both experience and success. He is an excellent choice by Petraeus and my guess is he'll be in the field constantly - and that's really where he belongs. I've been saying since 1991 this guy will be wearing 4 stars someday.
Mansoor is the ideas guy and has been deeply involved in putting the current COIN doctrine together. His cv includes command of a tank company, armored cavalry squadron and armored brigade. He also holds a master’s and Ph.D. in military history from Ohio State. I first heard of COL Mansoor when he was a brigade commander with the 1st Armored Division deployed in Iraq in 2004 and took exception (big surprise) with a NYT story concerning an incident involving his troops. You can read about it here.
Bottom line, these two are two of the very best at what they do and they will absolutely be of huge benefit to the effort. Good choices by Gen. Petraeus.