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Press Release | Feb. 9, 2023

CENTCOM Commander Visit to Qatar Highlights Focus on “People, Partners, and Innovation”


Feb. 09, 2023

Release Number 20230209-01



TAMPA, Fla. – Continuing a multi-country visit to the Middle East, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, visited Qatar from February 8 to 9. During the visit, Kurilla and CENTCOM’s component commanders and senior staff met with Lt. Gen. (Pilot) Salem Bin Hamad Al-Nabit, Chief of Staff of Qatari Armed Forces, and the senior Qatari military commanders and staff. The leaders discussed the current security situation in the region and the growing partnership between CENTCOM and the Qatari Armed Forces.

The U.S. – Qatari military relationship, long critical to regional security and stability, dates to 1972, one year after the declaration of Qatari independence. The relationship strengthened 11 years later with the 1983 formation of CENTCOM. Qatar is now a strategic U.S. partner in the region. Last year President Biden declared Qatar a major non-NATO ally, a status granted to only 18 other countries. Now, the partnership continues to offer benefits to the Middle East.

“Qatar is a significant contributor to the Gulf and broader Middle East and our partnership is only expanding,” said Kurilla. “Consistent with CENTCOM’s focus on People, Partners, and Innovation, we are firmly committed to our partnerships throughout the region, to include our ironclad partnership with Qatar.”

While in Qatar, Kurilla also met with Task Force 99, the innovation task force based at Al Udeid Air Base. Task Force 99 personnel displayed their innovative approach to sensors and UAV technology.

Task Force 99 was established in October of last year to serve as the aerial complement to Task Force 59, CENTCOM’s maritime-based innovation task force, and Task Force 39, CENTCOM’s land-based innovation task force. Combined, these innovation task forces create a technology development ecosystem that allows increased awareness and faster decision-making across all domains and places cutting-edge tools in the hands of warfighters and decisionmakers.