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Former Centcom Commander John Abizaid Named Senior Defense Adviser to Ukraine

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John Abizaid

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has appointed John Abizaid, a retired U.S. Army general and former commander of the U.S. Central Command, as senior defense adviser to Ukraine.

The Defense Department said Thursday Abizaid will give authoritative advice to Ukraine’s defense minister Stepan Poltorak and other senior Ukrainian officials.

Abizaid will seek to support Ukraine’s efforts to align its armed forces with Western principles and standards such as democratic civilian control of the military, a NATO-interoperable organizational structure and anti-corruption measures, DoD added.

His previous assignments include a tour with the United Nations as operations officer for Observer Group Lebanon, a tour in the Army’s office of the chief of the staff and European staff tours with the Southern European Task Force and U.S. Army Europe headquarters.

He also served as executive assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, director of strategic plans and policy on the Joint Staff and director of the Joint Staff.

He has been deployed to Italy, Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina and supported Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Abizaid’s appointment follows a bilateral meeting between Carter and Poltorak in the sidelines of the U.N. Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial in London where the defense leaders discussed continued U.S. and allied support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Carter and Poltorak also signed a bilateral partner concept document to establish a framework for efforts on Ukraine’s defense capacity, defense reforms, resource management processes and defense technology cooperation with the U.S., DoD said.

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