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 grew up in Elk River, Minnesota. 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.

He began his military career as an infantry officer. He served in the U.S. invasion of Panama, the Gulf War, and operations in Haiti, Kosovo, and Bosnia. 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…

General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, reported last week that hundreds of operations were conducted in Iraq and Syria over the past year that resulted in the death or capture of over 1,000 ISIS fighters,  

He stated, “While we have significantly degraded its capability, the ideology remains unconstrained. We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations.” 

General Kurilla continued, “Over the past year, Iraqi Security Forces demonstrated an ability to continue operations to degrade ISIS, to aggressively pursue the terror group in Iraq, and to improve security and stability within Iraq,” Kurilla said. “Today, they display a high level of competence, professionalism, and progress in leading tactical operations, but there is still much work to be done.” 

He credited both Iraqi and Syrian security Forces for showing the ability to take the fight to the terror group. 


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