Dec. 22, 2016 —
This past year has been a very busy and productive one for U.S. Central Command.
Much has happened and, working together, we accomplished a great deal throughout our area of
responsibility. Of note, we've made significant progress in the ongoing fight against the terrorist
group, ISIL in Iraq and Syria. We've effectively countered other violent extremist organizations
operating in our region. We reaffirmed our commitment to our Afghan partners and continue to
support and enable their efforts as they bravely take the fight to the enemy and build additional
needed capability. We've taken steps to counter Iran's malign activity. We' re supporting many
of our partners as they assume a larger role in providing for the security of their sovereign spaces
in places like Yemen, Lebanon, and the Sinai. We're also participating in bi-lateral and multilateral
exercises, building coalitions, and conducting joint operations in pursuit of common
objectives. By doing all of this and more, we are enhancing interoperability, improving stability,
and strengthening partnerships in that strategically important part of the world.
What you do truly matters. Whether you work at the headquarters, at a location forward
in the region, at an embassy, aboard a ship or plane, or in support of partner forces operating on
the ground, each of you is making an important difference through your individual and collective
efforts. As I reflect upon what this country means to me, as your commander and a fellow
citizen, I am enormously proud of the contributions you make on a daily basis.
We're also extremely grateful for the support of our families. They are important
members of our CENTCOM team and we could not do what we do without them. Please be sure
to pass along to your loved ones our sincere thanks for their tremendous efforts and the many
sacrifices they continue to make on behalf of our nation.
During this holiday season our foremost thoughts are with the brave men and women
serving in harm's way around the globe. Everything we do is in support of their efforts, and we
want them to be successful and return home safely.
Michele and I wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday. I hope you will
be able to enjoy some well-deserved time off Reconnect with family and friends and have fun but,
also be safe! By all indications, 2017 promises to be an especially busy and challenging
year. I am absolutely confident our world-class team is up to the task and look forward to seeing
you back at work ready to make a difference! Thanks for all that you do in support of this
command and on behalf of a grateful Nation.
Happy Holidays and God bless!
Joseph L. Votel
General, U.S. Army