Newly promoted General Kenneth F. McKenzie on Thursday, March 28 took over the leadership of United States Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East including the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan.
At a ceremony led by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, McKenzie pledged to continue the work done by his predecessor, General Joseph Votel, who is retiring.
“I am excited to follow Joe Votel, to build upon the remarkable work he has done. It is an honor to join this team of dedicated professionals. It is good to be back and I am ready to continue the march… Semper Fidelis” said General McKenzie
“We know that even as we build upon the gains of the last few years, and accomplishments in Syria the last few weeks, new challenges always await this command. I know that the battle-tested team at CENTCOM remains in the ready to do what has to be done,” the new CENTCOM commander added.
The outgoing CENTCOM commander noted that “It is time to bring these conflicts to a conclusion. This won’t be as quick as anyone would like, but it can be done if we continue to keep our objectives and interests in mind, trust our partners, and enable our forces.”
“We have worked w/ our partners to improve capabilities, build resilience enhance interoperability, deter our adversaries & safeguard our common interests. Our ships, airplanes, soldiers & Marines, & our SOF all operate together. for the collective good.”
“To our coalition SNR partners – thank you all. Individually and collectively, you add color and texture to our efforts and together we send the unequivocal message to our foes that they will not prevail,” concluded General Votel.
1 of 4: Today it was an honor to recognize retiring @CENTCOM commander @USArmy GEN Votel for his nearly 40 years of extraordinary service & welcome @USMC Gen McKenzie to lead the incredible U.S. Central Command team. pic.twitter.com/RK4F3UYgoF
— Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan (@ActingSecDef) March 28, 2019