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Abraham’s Command: Relocating Israel to CENTCOM’s Area of Responsibility

*Originally published on Nov 25, 2020

The recent Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain both reflect and augur a growing strategic alignment between Israel and key American partners in the Middle East, driven primarily by the worsening Iranian nuclear and regional threats. The next crucial step is for the United States to relocate Israel to the area of responsibility (AOR) for American forces in the Middle East, known as U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

For decades, regional hostility toward it led the Jewish State to be placed in the AOR of European Command (EUCOM). Now, however, the Middle East looks very different than when these boundaries were drawn. Therefore, moving Israel to CENTCOM’s AOR would send a strong deterrent message of unity and continued U.S. commitment to regional leadership. More concretely, it could smooth the way for the Pentagon to utilize Israel more for regional operations, most directly by updating the prepositioned U.S. stockpile there. It also could enable Israel, U.S. forces in the Middle East and Arab partners to begin or deepen regional cooperation on missile defense, exercises, strategic planning, intelligence sharing and other critical military activities.

While several U.S. partners in CENTCOM still don’t recognize Israel, that was also the case for decades with EUCOM, and Israel’s diplomatic breakthroughs with Arab neighbors could continue. Moving Israel to CENTCOM’s AOR also would follow a trend of aligning COCOM boundaries to changing strategic landscapes and U.S. operational requirements. And it would facilitate more effective coordination between the U.S. military and the IDF.

The Abraham Accords and now normalization between Israel and Sudan mark terrific diplomatic progress. It’s time to reflect and build upon those successes by moving Israel to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility.

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JINSA Staff and Contributors

Michael Makovsky, PhD
President & CEO

Blaise Misztal
Vice President for Policy

Charles B. Perkins
Director for U.S.-Israel Security Policy

Jonathan Ruhe
Director of Foreign Policy

Advisors

Gen Charles “Chuck” Wald, USAF (ret.)
Distinguished Fellow/Senior Advisor, Gemunder Center for Defense & Strategy; Former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command

IDF MG (ret.) Yaacov Ayish
Senior Vice President for Israeli Affairs