FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag, commanding general, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, with leaders of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, welcomed Maj. Gen. Bakhodir Kurbanoz, the Uzbekistan minister of defense, to the USASOC headquarters, July 10, 2019.

The visit focused on expanding the continued partnership between Uzbekistan and the U.S. and their combined stabilization efforts in Afghanistan.

Sonntag took the opportunity to obtain Uzbekistan perspectives on bilateral security cooperation and regional security issues. The broader U.S. effort is to assist Uzbekistan in building its capacity to combat terrorism in the Central Asian region.

"Ministerial level visits can be highly effective engagement opportunities for both the U.S. and partner nations," said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, director, USASOC Public Affairs. "By focusing on issues at the strategic level, these engagements help to identify areas of mutual interest, set priorities for support, and shape follow-on engagements at subordinate command levels."

Kurbanoz's other interest, during his visit, was developing Uzbek's NCO training capacity and expanding battlefield medicine capability.

"By improving mutual understanding of Uzbekistan's security needs, as well as their capabilities, USASOC can help to improve its support to Uzbek security," Bymer said.

During his visit, Kurbanoz toured the Special Operations Medical Training Center, where he had an opportunity to ask questions about the scope and capabilities that Army Special Operations medics gain throughout their training.

"USASOC plays an important role in this process for the U.S. military, since it is uniquely suited to developing understanding of foreign partners and their environments, and possesses capabilities that are among the most sought-after by allies and partners, such as its counterterrorism expertise, as well as its unique ability to build partner capacity with a light footprint," Bymer said.

Following the tour, Kurbanoz expressed his thanks for the insight provided throughout the day and presented USASOC with a token of appreciation.

USASOC will continue optimizing interoperability with U.S. allies and partners to strengthen alliances attract new partners and deliver more effective coalition operations.