Pentagon Allows Military Family Members to Return to Bahrain
Dispatches from the Front:
MANAMA, Bahrain, June 28, 2009 -- Today, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), in cooperation with the American Embassy in Bahrain announced that all family members of Department of Defense (DoD) personnel will be allowed to return to Bahrain, effective immediately.
"We are extremely pleased with the policy change," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. "The return of family members of all ages is an extremely important sign of the security and stability in the region. It will also greatly improve the quality of life for our service members and DoD civilians."
U.S. Ambassador J. Adam Ereli said, "The Embassy and NAVCENT have put a lot of work into ensuring the return of DoD children to Bahrain. Their presence here helps strengthen relations between our two countries. We are very pleased about their return and look forward to their positive contributions to the society and economy of Bahrain."
This decision marks the second step to change a Defense Department policy that has been in place since July 2004 when families were required to relocate following security concerns. The return of adult family members, announced late last year, was the first step in a phased process to bring back DoD family members of all ages to Bahrain.
Most NAVCENT personnel currently serve 12-month unaccompanied tours in Bahrain, with some billets designated as 18-month tours. This latest decision will authorize military members to be stationed in Bahrain for accompanied tours with their families for up to two years.
Operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of operations are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.
(Report from a Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs news release.)
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