April 27, 2011 / 1:16 PM / 8 years ago

Factbox: Five facts about General David Petraeus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will nominate U.S. Army General David Petraeus as the new director of the CIA, officials said on Wednesday. He is currently commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Here are five facts about Petraeus.

* Petraeus, 58, replaced General Stanley McChrystal in June 2010 as the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He is widely credited with pulling Iraq back from the brink of all-out sectarian warfare, while head of U.S. Central Command overseeing a region including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen after 2008.

* A Republican favorite, Petraeus has often been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate, but has said he has no interest in the job. Although once a registered Republican, Petraeus stresses his independence and has not voted for years. But suspicions linger in the Obama White House that he might harbor secret political ambitions and could pose a fierce challenge to Democrats some day.

* Known as a “warrior-scholar,” Petraeus earned a doctoral degree from Princeton University and did his dissertation on the war in Vietnam. He oversaw development of the counter-insurgency field manual guiding the U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, which serves as the backbone of Afghan war strategy.

* Petraeus has survived his share of physical challenges. He was successfully treated for prostate cancer. His pelvis was broken in a parachuting accident and he was shot in the chest in a training exercise.

* Fiercely competitive and extremely fit, the general was once known to challenge younger soldiers to push-up contests.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Jackie Frank

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