Armed Forces

Featured Member of the Armed Forces for Prayer

General Joseph Votel, Commander, U.S. Central Command

Joseph L. Votel is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. His initial assignments were to the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany where he served as a rifle platoon leader, executive officer, battalion adjutant and rifle company commander. He would later become a small group tactics instructor at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

He was assigned to headquarters of the Allied Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy, and the NATO Peace Implementation Force in Sarajevo. He also participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq.

As a general officer, he served in the Pentagon as the Director of the Army, and in other positions under the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He most recently served as Commanding General of the U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.



U.S. intelligence and military officials have long warned of Iran’s “malign influence” in the Middle East. They also say Tehran is increasingly relying upon its cyber operations to shape both the battlefield and the information environment in places like Iraq, Syria and Yemen. General Joseph Votel, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, told an audience at a cyber-security summit that, like Russia, Iran has focused its attention on social media and has seen its efforts pay off in the international stage.

“They operate almost entirely in what we refer to as the gray zone, that space between international competition and armed conflict,” Votel said, calling it “an area ripe for cyberspace operations.” He added, “We at CENTCOM are examining ways to compete in the gray zone. Integrating cyberspace operations as part of a holistic approach is clearly a critical part of that.”

Votel called President Trump’s decision last month to elevate the status of U.S. Cyber Command “very helpful,” saying it would help the U.S. military to normalize the need to include a cyber-component in almost all of its usual operations.”