SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — “Building enduring relations and increasing interoperable logistics with allies and partners across the Middle East are key to enabling peace and stability in the region,” said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, during her visit to the area.
Van Ovost and Fleet Master Chief Donald Myrick, USTRANSCOM senior enlisted leader, traveled to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait last week to deepen military-to-military and international relationships, as well as enhance interoperability, flexibility and capabilities within the region.
“We benefit from strong relations with multiple partners throughout the Middle East region and have been working together to address challenges presented by regional and global threats,” Van Ovost said during an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper.
She went on to explain that “to be able to address and safeguard our nations effectively against those threats, we need to continue to develop our partnerships and find ways we can operate together more fluidly.”
Government and military leaders hosted the command team throughout the trip to discuss navigating shared challenges, maximizing opportunities and innovating approaches to benefit national interests.
“Our ability to rapidly respond to a global crisis relies on strong relationships with our allies and partners,” said Van Ovost. “The ability to fly over and land in their countries and utilize their seaports and land-based transportation networks is critical to our ability to project and sustain forces.”
As the command charged with directing and enabling military operations and activities in the Middle East, U.S. Central Command's priorities include deterring Iran’s aggression, countering violent extremist organizations and enabling the nation and its allies to compete strategically.
“We are committed to advancing the security of our allies and partners against external threats, such as Iran,” Van Ovost said. “U.S. Central Command recently stood up multiple task forces, which are integrated with regional allies and partners.”
She recognized that “working together, we can combine our substantial capabilities and innovative approaches to deter and defeat these threats.”
During the trip, the command team had the opportunity to meet joint service members stationed at military installations in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.
Van Ovost and Myrick shared their appreciation with the teams and thanked them for their accomplishments, which include fostering relationships to better address challenges.
“The mission can’t be done without you,” Van Ovost said. “Each of you are critical to our mission and we look to you to develop and incorporate innovative approaches to make the mission better.
“You all went above and beyond in your duties by taking initiative, demonstrating leadership, and supporting your teammates,” she continued, while recognizing top-performing defense logistics personnel stationed in Bahrain.
They also engaged with troops from allied and partner nations — most notably, female service members from Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to discuss shared challenges, and the importance of mentorship and perseverance.
“The United States’ National Defense Strategy focuses on integrated deterrence, which entails developing and combining our strengths for maximum effect,” Van Ovost said. “Our allies and partners remain an enduring strength that allows us to achieve our shared objectives by harnessing our combined capabilities.”
USTRANSCOM exists as a warfighting combatant command to project and sustain military power at a time and place of the nation's choosing. Powered by dedicated men and women, TRANSCOM underwrites the lethality of the Joint Force, advances American interests around the globe, and provides our nation's leaders with strategic flexibility to select from multiple options while creating numerous dilemmas for our adversaries.