General Michael Kurilla, Commander, United States Central Command

General Michael Kurilla

Commander, United States Central Command

Michael Erik Kurilla was born in 1966 in California. He earned his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and an M.B.A. from Regis University. He received a master’s degree in national security studies from the National War College, and was commissioned as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army after graduating from West Point.

As an infantry officer, he participated in the U.S. invasion of Panama. He then took part in the Gulf War. He deployed to the region under U.S. Central Command, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. In Iraq, he commanded a Stryker battalion in the 25th Infantry Division and was awarded a Bronze Star after a battle in Mosul. He also commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment.

He then served as Assistant Commanding General of Joint Special Operations Command followed by command of the 82nd Airborne Division. He then commanded the XVIII Airborne Corps. In Germany, he oversaw U.S. troop deployments in response to the war in Ukraine

General Kurilla assumed his role as Commander of the United States Central Command in April 2022.

In the News…

The U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Middle East, announced that a kinetic strike in Idlib province Syria targeted Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a senior leader of Hurras al-Din, an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. They did not mention whether or not he was killed, although CENTCOM noted he was “traveling alone on a motorcycle at the time of the strike.” 

There were no initial indications of civilian casualties in the incident, the military said. 

“Violent extremist organizations, including Al Qaeda-aligned organizations such as Hurras al-Din, continue to present a threat to America and our allies. Al Qaeda-aligned militants use Syria as a safe haven to coordinate with their external affiliates and plan operations outside of Syria,” CENTCOM stated. “The removal of this senior leader will disrupt Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks against U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians around the world.” 

Other similar strikes were carried out by CENTCOM military last fall. 


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