Armor & Mobility

AUG 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Armor & Mobility had the opportunity to speak with General Joseph L. Votel, Commander, U.S. Central Command, (USCENTCOM), on issues relating to CENTCOM's critical relationship with various regional partners and ongoing efforts to maintain a balance of power within the Middle East. PARTNERING FOR THREAT MITIGATION AND REGIONAL STABILIZATION Finally, we must make sure that we are postured for purpose in this region. We must have a credible, ready, and present force coupled with foreign military sales and foreign military financing programs that serve to build and shape partner nation capability in a timely and effective fashion. Ours is a challenging and very important mission. Our U.S. Special Forces continue to train, advise, assist and accompany indigenous forces in various areas within our region to progress towards a status quo where those forces are able to mitigate threats and maintain stability on their own. For example, we continued to have SOF supporting the Manbij Military Council forces even after Manbij's liberation from ISIS in August. The MMC provide security to Manbij as local governance works to revitalize their city. We work in close coordination with partner forces and our allies to remain focused in delivering a lasting defeat to our common enemy, ISIS. We also are already thinking past ISIS occupation cities, and how General Joseph L. Votel Commander U.S. Central Command USCENTCOM A&M: With the 2016 reaffirmation of security partnering between CENTCOM and Saudi Arabia, including efforts to check Iranian destabilizing activities in the region and counter violent extremism, how is CENTCOM leadership working to ensure effective execution of these efforts from a team perspective? GEN Votel: First, I want to say that the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians that make up the command are world- class and truly the very best at what they do. Our strategic intent for CENTCOM is very straightforward: prepare, pursue, and prevail. We must prepare the environment to ensure an effective posture and strong relationships across the region. We pursue opportunities to strengthen relationships and support our interests. And when our forces are put into action, we prevail in our assigned missions. With our coalition partners, we've adopted a "by, with and through" approach that places a heavy reliance on indigenous forces. We place trust in our leaders in these forward locations to make decisions in time-compressed situations. We are seeing consistent success with this approach, despite some challenges, and it is likely to pay significant dividends going forward. From our train and assist program with the Iraqi security forces to supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian Arab Coalition, our armed forces and coalition partners are executing campaigns in the central region with significantly fewer U.S. forces on the ground than in previous years. A&M: What are CENTCOM's primary focal areas to achieve its strategic goals in the region? GEN Votel: I've identified three focus areas that I believe we must accomplish in order to successfully execute our strategy: First, we must restore trust with our partners in the region while at the same time maintaining the trust of our leadership in Washington. The fact is we cannot surge trust in times of crisis so we must do what is necessary now to assure our partners of our commitment and staying power. Second, we must link our military objectives and campaigns as closely as possible to policy objectives and into our other instruments of national power. In other words, we must align our military objectives and soft power capabilities with desired national and regional strategic end states, recognizing that if we don't do this, we risk creating space for our adversaries to achieve their strategic aims. COMMAND FOCUS www.tacticaldefensemedia.com 20 | Armor & Mobility | August 2017

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