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Sens. Ossoff & Graham Successfully Protect Key U.S. Diplomatic & Military Post in Middle East

Following Sens. Ossoff and Graham’s bipartisan push, Department of Defense will maintain vital United States Security Coordinator (USSC) position at three-star rank

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced their bipartisan push to protect a key U.S. military and diplomatic post in the Middle East has succeeded.

After Sens. Ossoff and Graham led a bipartisan group of 34 U.S. Senators urging the Biden Administration to maintain the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) position at the three-star rank, the Department of Defense confirmed they will not downgrade the USSC position.

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.

“After we led 34 bipartisan Senators urging the Department of Defense not to downgrade this post, the Department has now made the right decision for U.S. national security,” Sen. Ossoff said. “We must sustain high-level U.S. engagement for peace and stability in the Holy Land.”

“We strongly believe this is a perilous time for Israel,” said Sen. Graham. “It is imperative that we maintain the three-star rank when it comes to coordinating security between the Palestine Authority and Israel. We are willing to provide waivers or adjustments to the law reducing General and Flag officers in the future.”

Axios reported earlier this summer the Pentagon was considering downgrading the position to Colonel, which Sens. Ossoff and Graham and their colleagues warned would undermine U.S. national security and risk peace and stability in Israel and the West Bank.

Sens. Ossoff and Graham were joined on their letter by Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Kennedy (R-LA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Alex Padilla (D-CA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).

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