General Frank McKenzie, USMC, Commander, United States Central Command

General Frank McKenzie, USMC

Commander, United States Central Command

Kenneth Franklin “Frank” McKenzie, Jr., was born in 1957 in Birmingham, Alabama. He was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at The Citadel. He earned a Master’s degree in History from the National Defense University, and served as a senior military fellow at the school’s Institute for National Strategic Studies.

As an infantry officer, his assignments included being the commanding officer of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which he led on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He served as Military Secretary to two Marine Corps Commandants.

He was selected by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as director of a transition team overseeing the smooth transition of military forces for incoming President Barack Obama. He returned to Afghanistan, serving as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Stability under the International Security Assistance Force.

McKenzie assumed his role as Commander of the United States Central Command in March 2019.

In the News…

General Frank McKenzie, America’s top commander in the Middle East, discussed the push for peace in Afghanistan.

“We have a narrow path to go forward,” he said. “I think this path is still the only way to get to a negotiated peaceful end to the situation there. I believe that the government of Afghanistan is trying to do everything it can to get ready to conduct intra-Afghan dialogue, direct negotiations with the Taliban. And that’s going to be an important thing. As a precursor to that, the Afghan government has committed to releasing 5,000 prisoners. And they’re in the process of doing that now. They need to finish that release. That will be an important step.”

He continued, “The level of violence is still too high. The Taliban is still attacking Afghan forces across the country. They have scrupulously avoided attacking U.S. and coalition forces. But the attacks continue against the Afghan government forces and at far too high a level.”

Although he said he felt there is a risk of the peace agreement falling apart, he said, “But I’ll tell you, I also believe this is the closest we’ve been to a potential solution in all my time involved with this problem.”


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