Gen. (ret.) Joseph Votel served as commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) from March 2016 to March 2019, during which he oversaw military operations across the region, including the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Before that, he commanded the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). General Votel is a non-resident Distinguished Senior Fellow on National Security at the Middle East Institute (MEI).