Interview: Vice Adm. John Miller

Commander, US Naval Forces Central Command, 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces


After nearly two years at the helm of the US Navy’s efforts in the Middle East, Vice Adm. John Miller has experienced the push and pull of international relations around the gulf region.

The bellicosity of Iran has recently given way to a more low-key, businesslike profile, even as the sometimes volatile Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — is bickering over Qatari support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

From his headquarters in Bahrain, Miller has led US efforts to maintain an even keel and foster relations between the GCC partners.

Q. How do you see the American role in the Arabian Gulf region?

A. I think our most important role out here is to provide leadership. It has grown over the last two years and I think it is going to continue to grow.

We provide a certain amount of technical expertise, certainly, and we bring a certain amount of firepower to the maritime security role — that sort of backbone is important. But the leadership we provide really allows the entire GCC to weather the storms that are inevitable in any sort of relationship.

Q. This crisis will be weathered and things will come back?

A. Absolutely, and we will leave the GCC issues to the GCC as appropriate, but we will continue to provide the leadership we have always provided.

What we have seen in the nearly two years I have been here is that more nations are flocking to the Combined Maritime Force. The next nation to join is going to be, we think, from Northern Europe.

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