FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 734-0430
December 8, 2020 

Cotton, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Study Transfer of Israel from EUCOM to CENTCOM

Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) today introduced the Israel CENTCOM Reclassification Act (ICRA), a bill which would require the Department of Defense to conduct a study, in consultation with the Israeli government, on transferring Israel from the United States European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility to the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. The bill text may be found here.

“Tasking CENTCOM to serve as the primary U.S. defense coordinator with Israel instead of EUCOM would acknowledge the new political reality of the Middle East under the Abraham Accords. Our bill requires a study of the potential transition, which could increase U.S.—Israel military cooperation with regional partners and help better secure the Middle East against threats like Iran,” said Cotton

“Moving Israel under CENTCOM’s responsibility has the potential to be a win-win for U.S. servicemembers and our ally, Israel. Through this study, the Pentagon will see the benefits of streamlining our chain of command and help bolster our military partnerships in the Middle East against threats around the globe,” said Ernst.

“Israel continues to be one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East, and we must ensure we maintain our military partnership with the changing dynamics in the region,” said Tillis. “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will study whether transferring Israel from European Command to Central Command is in the best interest of our respective countries.”

“Transferring Israel from EUCOM to CENTCOM would be an acknowledgement of the new dynamics in the Middle East, reflecting the newfound peace and stability made possible by the historic Abraham Accords President Trump secured this year,” said Cramer. “This commonsense move would allow better coordination between the United States and our Middle East allies, and we expect the study our bill would create would reflect that." 

Background:

  • The historic Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have dramatically changed the Middle East security environment in favor of peace and cooperation between Israel and neighboring Arab countries. 

  • With this new regional reality, transferring Israel to CENTCOM—which handles military operations in the Middle East—may help optimize coordination among the United States, Israel, and other partners in the Middle East on regional security issues, such as countering Iran.

  • Reclassifying Israel as part of CENTCOM would advance the mission of the Abraham Accords by deepening coordination between the United States and its allies and partners in the Middle East on vital defense activities and would ensure that U.S.-Israel military cooperation accounts for current realities in the region.

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