Obama's Experienced War Team Departing As Troop Withdrawal Begins

By ROBERT BURNS | June 21, 2011 | 3:15 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's long-awaited decision on how many troops to bring home from Afghanistan this summer overshadows a major change: the departure from Washington and Kabul of senior U.S. leaders with years of experience in managing the war.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is retiring next week. The top two American generals in Kabul — David Petraeus and David Rodriguez — are due to leave for new assignments as early as July. Also departing in July is retired Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul.

They will be replaced by men with military and national security resumes but less direct experience in Afghanistan.

A fresh set of eyes could lead to new advice to the White House on how to wind down 10 years of war.

With troop cuts, Obama also will juggle war team