The Pentagon has changed the combatant command responsible for operations involving Israel from U.S. European Command to U.S. Central Command, following White House-brokered accords between the country and multiple Persian Gulf states.
The update to the Unified Command Plan comes as the Trump administration finishes its final week in office. President Donald J. Trump’s White House has touted the Abraham Accords—normalizing relations between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
“The easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East,” the Pentagon said. “Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our U.S. Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies.”
The Pentagon did not say how the move will affect operations and planning, noting it is part of a biennial review of its command plan based on assessments of “all boundaries and relationships against the operational environment.”
“I think moving Israel to CENTCOM makes sense from a U.S. policy perspective in that many Israeli issues are tied to the other countries in CENTCOM’s [area of responsibility],” retired Army Maj. Gen. Mike Jones, who served as CENTCOM chief of staff in 2011, told Military Times. It’s similar to DOD’s decision to add India to the combatant command overseeing Pacific operations, for example, he said.