Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarlandUS Army

Irish American Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland has been appointed the U.S. military’s new top commander for the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. 

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter put MarFarland in charge of the coalition last month and announced the appointment on Friday. The announcement comes after much criticism that the Obama administration’s counter-ISIS campaign lacked coordinated leadership as it stretched across multiple agencies, reports.

“Rather than three gen­er­als re­spons­ible for dif­fer­ent as­pects of the cam­paign, as had been the case, I have em­powered Lt. Gen. Mac­Far­land as the single com­mand­er of counter-ISIL activ­it­ies in both Ir­aq and Syr­ia,” Carter said. “His ef­forts will be crit­ic­al in the com­ing months as we con­tin­ue to provide sup­port for cap­able part­ners fight­ing on the front lines.”

Mac­Far­land re­places Lt. Gen. James Terry, who will con­tin­ue serving as the head of U.S. Army Cent­ral, or USAR­CENT, which com­mands Army forces in the Middle East.

MacFarland, a West Point graduate from Up­state New York, is also the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of IIICorps and Fort Hood in Texas, a po­s­i­tion he holds con­cur­rent to his new po­s­i­tion as com­mand­er for the Com­bined Joint Task Force for Op­er­a­tion In­her­ent Re­solve. 

He is best known for his ef­forts to se­cure the city of Ra­madi in 2007 and foster the Sunni Awaken­ing. 

“I was giv­en very broad guid­ance,” Mac­Far­land told USA Today in 2007. “Fix Ra­madi, but don’t des­troy it. Don’t do a Fal­lu­jah.”  

As a colonel, Mac­Far­land es­tab­lished 18 com­bat out­posts in and around Ra­madi. He then created part­ner­ships with vari­ous Sunni tri­bal sheiks, resulting in an al­li­ance of more than 50 sheiks by the time his bri­gade left Ir­aq, and even­tu­ally reach­ing more than 200 sheiks.

Ra­madi fell to IS­IS earli­er this year.