He spent his second tour in Iraq as a one-star general after being confirmed in 2004, commanding the 5th Marine Regiment. He moved up the ranks quickly after that, recognized for his superior planning and commanding in combat.
In December 2007, Dunford was selected for a second star and was quickly promoted to a lieutenant general only two months later, even before Congress could confirm him for his second star.
"He is well-thought-of, and that kind of movement is emblematic of how he is though of in the Marine Corps," said Marine Col. David Lapan. "He has a good deal of experience he brings to the table, and people recognize that he is right for the position in Afghanistan," he said.