Centcom Commander Briefs Senators on Regional Challenges

No other region in the world is as dynamic, hopeful, challenging and dangerous as the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, the Centcom commander told the Senate Armed Forces Committee today.

“It is an area of great contrast and contradiction,” Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel said of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the area known as the Levant.

“It is an area rich in history, culture and resources, but also an area pulsing with sectarianism, violence, poor governance, corruption, disenfranchisement, profound human suffering and economic disparity,” Votel said.

The general said Centcom’s AOR is an area where the United States retains vital interests as its forces work to prevent attacks on the U.S. homeland, to counter malign and destabilizing influence, to contain the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to ensure freedom of navigation and commerce through critical international waterways.

Threats in Centcom

“[Four] of the five major competitors, or threats, identified in the National Defense Strategy — China, Russia, Iran and violent extremist organizations — reside or are contested in the Centcom area of responsibility every day,” Votel told the senators.

In the final two weeks of 2018, he added, Centcom supported the United Nations special envoy in the…

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