WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joins a bipartisan push, led by Senators Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), urging the Biden Administration to maintain the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) position at the three-star rank in the face of reported plans to downgrade it to a non-general or flag officer.
Based in Jerusalem, the USSC serves as a crucial liaison between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and leads international coalition efforts in support of peace and stability. The USSC is a joint, international, interagency office with Department of Defense service members assigned to the State Department.
Axios reported earlier this month the Pentagon is considering downgrading the position to Colonel, which Sens. Ossoff and Graham and their colleagues warn would undermine U.S. national security and risk peace and stability in Israel and the West Bank.
“Given continued regional volatility, steadfast high-level U.S. leadership and engagement to support peace and stability in Israel and the West Bank remain in the national security interest of the United States,” said the lawmakers. “Downgrading this position would undermine critical security programs and degrade communications between Israelis and Palestinians, which the USSC facilitates. Such a downgrade would also risk fracturing the U.S.-led international coalition committed to strengthening security and stability in Israel and the West Bank.”
Senators Cardin, Ossoff and Graham were joined on the letter by Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
Click here to read the letter.
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