General Michael Kurilla, Commander, U.S. Central Command

General Michael Kurilla

Commander, U.S. 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. military said it flew a pair of nuclear-capable B-52 long-distance bombers over the Middle East in a show of force, the latest such mission in the region as tensions remain high between Washington and Tehran. 

The bombers took off from the Royal Air Force Base at Fairford, England, and flew over the eastern Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Red Sea in training missions together with Kuwaiti and Saudi warplanes before departing the region. 

“Threats to the U.S. and our partners will not go unanswered,” said a top U.S. Air Force officer in the Middle East. “Missions like this…showcase our ability to combine forces to deter and, if necessary, defeat our adversaries.” 

Although the U.S. Central Command did not mention Iran, Washington has frequently dispatched B-52 bombers to the region as hostilities simmered between the U.S. and Iran. The latest such flyover was in June. 


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