Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with leaders in Israel and Jordan over the weekend as he began a fact-finding mission in the Middle East.
Milley became chairman in October, and has deployed to the region several times as U.S. Army chief of staff, but the trip is his first to the region since taking over as chair of the JCS, the Pentagon said Monday.
On Sunday he arrived in Israel to consult with his counterpart, Israeli Army Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, on operational issues and regional developments.
Milley also inspected an honor guard at the Israel Defense Force headquarters in Tel Aviv. His visit is one of a series of recent visits to Israel by senior members of the U.S. military.
Milley then traveled to Jordan and met with King Abdullah II, the country's commander in chief.
"The two leaders discussed several issues of mutual concern in the Middle East and the broader regional security situation," a statement by the Joint Chiefs said in part. "Gen. Milley affirmed the U.S. commitment to its strategic security relationship with Jordan in facing regional and global challenges."
Milley will meet with several other leaders in the Middle East and Central Asia, and visit U.S. troops stationed in the area.
Since he ascended to the chairman's position, Turkish troops moved deeper into northern Syria, the United States redeployed forces in Syria to protect oil fields from the Islamic State, Iran attacked an oil terminal in Saudi Arabia and additional U.S. troops were sent to the region, bringing the number of troops serving in the U.S. Central Command to between 50,000 and 60,000.
Training and advisement of Iraqi defense forces, Syrian Democratic Forces and security forces in Afghanistan also continue, the Joint Chiefs noted in a statement.