USAF, DOD Leaders Make Holiday Visits to Middle East

Top Air Force and Defense Department leaders visited several bases throughout the Middle East to meet with Airmen for the holidays, and receive updates on ongoing missions.

Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass met with Airmen at locations including Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia; al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates; Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait; and al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Barrett later took to Twitter, saying the Airmen “are the ultimate competitors in a competition-driven security environment.”

It’s the first time Brown and Bass have toured these Middle East bases while in their current positions, and the second time for Barrett. Brown previously commanded Air Forces Central Command at al-Udeid.

Also on Dec. 22, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller traveled to Afghanistan in an unannounced visit. During the trip, he met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss ongoing U.S. military support and peace talks. He also met with Gen. Austin Scott Miller, commander of Resolute Support and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, for an assessment of the ongoing security situation, including the level of Taliban violence. 

Miller met with service members at RS headquarters, Combat Security Transition Command Afghanistan, and other locations to “acknowledge their sacrifice of being away from their families during a difficult holiday season,” according to a Defense Department release.

 The U.S. military is in the process of drawing down its presence in Afghanistan, dropping to 2,500 total troops by Jan. 15, 2021.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8:39 a.m. to include more bases USAF leaders visited.