BAGHDAD, Iraq –
Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the military coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, conducted a transfer of authority ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 8, 2022.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane assumed command as CJTF-OIR commanding general from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Brennan, as the colors were passed by the presiding officer, U.S. Army Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, commanding general, U.S. Central Command.
Iraqi Security Forces, partners, and distinguished guests joined an audience including U.S. and coalition Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and law enforcement officials for the transfer of authority ceremony at the coalition headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. Kurilla expressed confidence that the new leadership team is ready to continue efforts to enable the lasting defeat of ISIS and set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability.
“McFarlane has the right temperament to continue the mission, to continue the aggressive push in Iraq and Syria, to continue the pressure against ISIS. He will lean on the deep, trusting relationships with Iraqi Security Forces developed by Brennan and his team,” said Kurilla.
Kurilla also praised the previous leadership, “Most importantly, under general Brennan and his ranger buddy, Jeremy Lile, this command successfully transitioned from a combat role to an advise, assist and enable role, and did so ahead of schedule. This is a testament to the professionalism, bravery, and expertise of the Iraqi Security Forces.”
In Syria, the coalition continues to support the Syrian Democratic Forces’ anti-ISIS operations through advice, specialized intelligence sharing and air support. The SDF and coalition continue to protect critical infrastructure to deny ISIS access to oil finances. Coalition special operations forces continue to enable partner force anti-terrorism commandos in Iraq and designated areas of Syria.
After relinquishing command of the task force, Brennan celebrated the contributions CJTF-OIR troops. “Very proud of all the efforts over the last 12 months. The significant milestones we reached. The numerous integrated air and ground operations and increased coordination with our Kurdish and Syrian partners. None of this would have been possible without being surrounded by an outstanding team and I would like to personally thank my officers and non-commissioned officers,” said Brennan while reflecting on his time in command of CJTF-OIR.
As the ninth commander of the coalition, McFarlane took the podium to share his vision. “It is a privilege of my life to serve alongside you as your CJTF-OIR commander. We will each shoulder our share of the task. We will continue to further the success of this historic endeavor and we will ensure victory,” he said.
As the capabilities of the coalition’s partner forces continue to mature, CJTF-OIR will focus on strengthening more advanced aspects of security that will take longer for its security partners to develop - ultimately continuing toward dismantling ISIS leadership, finances and global network.
Although, CJTF-OIR has reduced its number of troops and bases, it remains the broadest military coalition in history, staged to maintain the commitment to support its partners in their fight against ISIS. These adjustments are consistent with its dialogue and continued partnership with the Government of Iraq, coalition nations, and NATO Mission Iraq.
Since its formation in June 2014, CJTF-OIR has built and enhanced the capacities of partner forces while significantly degrading the ability of ISIS to recruit, train, plan, resource, inspire and execute attacks worldwide.
CJTF-OIR remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting partners in Iraq and Syria as they secure the enduring defeat of Daesh, preventing its reemergence and protecting our homelands.
Brennan will report to Tampa, Florida, and begin duties as the director of operations for U.S. Special Operations Command.