U.S. Central Command Combatant Commander General (Ret.) Kenneth F. McKenzie Joins National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations International Advisory Board

Washington, D.C.: The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations is pleased to announce that General (Ret.) Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., who stepped down as the Commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) last month, has joined the National Council’s International Advisory Board. The Board provides strategic support to the Council’s Board of Directors together with its Founding President and Chief Executive Officer.

In announcing the appointment, National Council Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony stated, “We are honored that General (Ret.) McKenzie has accepted our invitation to join the Council’s Advisory Board. His exemplary record of public service is long and impressive. Few individuals can match General McKenzie’s experiences of having been immersed in the day-to-day management of security and defense relationships with America’s Arab friends, allies, and strategic partners. He will be an extraordinarily valuable resource, advisor, and conceptualizer with a wealth of problem solving experience as we work to continuously improve, strengthen, and expand the Council’s U.S.-Arab relations leadership development and bridge-building educational efforts.”

General Kenneth McKenzie speaking at the NCUSAR annual conference.

General (Ret.) Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., has been a Featured Keynote Speaker at several of the National Council’s Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conferences.

National Council Board of Directors Chairman John Pratt added, “General McKenzie has distinguished himself through a long career of effective leadership and selfless service during a time of enormous consequence for the United States and its partners in what is arguably the world’s most strategically vital region. The Council’s Board of Directors is delighted that he will be on hand to lend his hard-earned insights and analyses in furtherance of the Council’s educational mission. General McKenzie’s empirical involvement in navigating the shoals of the region’s strategic and geopolitical challenges and opportunities is unrivalled and not to be underestimated. It will be highly valued in determining how the Council’s programs, projects, events, and activities can continue to strengthen and expand the U.S.-Arab relationship.”

General McKenzie stepped down as Commander of CENTCOM and retired from the United States military on April 1, 2022, after 42 years of service. In his final posting, he oversaw all U.S. military missions in CENTCOM’s 21-country area of responsibility covering Egypt, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia. He also led the 78-nation counterterrorism campaign against ISIS. General McKenzie managed high-profile missions, extraordinary transitions, and expanded regional military cooperation after assuming the command in March 2019.

During his four-plus decades of distinguished military service, General McKenzie commanded at all levels in the Marine Corps, led Marine Expeditionary Units on deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and served in the highest offices at the Pentagon. In Afghanistan in late August 2021, he coordinated the largest non-combatant evacuation in the history of the United States military, moving more than 79,000 civilians over an 18 day period to Qatar and other nations. He earned numerous awards and recognitions for his leadership and contributions in the pursuit of global peace and security. An Alabama native and graduate of The Citadel, General McKenzie was the first Marine to lead CENTCOM since General James Mattis (2010-2013).

About the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations: Founded in 1983 and based in Washington, D.C., the National Council is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization. The Council pursues its educational mission through a diverse array of programs, projects, events, and activities. Each is dedicated to enhancing American awareness and appreciation of the extraordinary benefits that the United States has long derived from its special relationships with countries in the Arab region – and vice versa.

At the center of the National Council’s efforts to advance American knowledge and understanding of Arab culture, societal dynamics, and systems of governance – and the nature and extent of their impact on U.S. national security, economic, and related interests – are the Council’s flagship education, training, and leadership development programs. These are designed to elevate the leadership skills and empirical Arab-centric educational experiences of the emerging generation of young Americans and Arabs. Upon their shoulders will rest the responsibility for ensuring that the relationships between the American and Arab peoples are continuously deepened, improved, and sustained far into the future.

Information about the Council can be found at ncusar.org.