Episode 22: A Lesson in Results: The US Military/Diplomatic Partnership in Qatar with General David Goldfein & Ambassador Susan Ziadeh

Amb. McCarthy: 00:10 Welcome to a conversation in the series, The General and the Ambassador on how our senior military leaders work with our senior ambassadors to advance national security interests overseas. This program is a project of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Una Chapman Cox Foundation. My name is Ambassador Deborah McCarthy and I'm the producer and host of the series. Today we will focus on our military and diplomatic interests in Qatar. I'm very pleased to welcome General David Goldfein and Ambassador Susan Ziadeh. General Goldfien is the current Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. Previously he served as Vice Chief of Staff and Director of Joint Staff at the Pentagon. From 2011 to 2013, General Goldfien was the Commander, US Air Forces Central Command for Southwest Asia based in Qatar. Ambassador Ziadeh is the former Ambassador to Qatar serving from 2011 to 2014. She also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs. She is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, one of my alma maters, and is a member of the board of governors of the Middle East Institute. Welcome to both of you and thank you for joining the show. We have a defense cooperation agreement with Qatar that dates back to 1992 and it gives the United States the right to operate out of two military bases in Qatar. Today we have approximately 10,000 military personnel in the country. General, let me start with you. What is the mission of our troops and how much does the government of Qatar contribute to the cost of the maintenance of those bases?

Gen. Goldfein: 01:49 Let me start by also saying thank you for this opportunity. The Ambassador and I did spend two years together, working on some pretty important issues, and I'll tell you, the relationship that we built over there was really a model for me, for how a General and an Ambassador work together. If you start off with the military operations, we have Air Force capability that we have at the base, primarily al-Udeid, everything from bomber activity to intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance. And so we not only projected power from Qatar into places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, but also used that to work with our coalition partners to defend the region. And so, first and foremost, it was about projecting military power, coalition air power. Because of the headquarters there, we also brought the regional operational command and control where we had elements of all the services, all the components, and our coalition teammates that were all in the headquarters where we would orchestrate all of the air operations on behalf of the CENTCOM commander.

Amb. McCarthy: 02:51 So it's not just the United States, as you said, the others are there.

Gen. Goldfein: 02:54 Absolutely.

Amb. Ziadeh: 02:55 The fact that we operate out of the base is a huge plus for us. It gives us that interoperability with our allies in the region and it gives us a way of also leveraging our presence with the Qatari government. We have been there at the base since 1992 but our posture has changed over the years. Originally, our relationship actually started with Qatar more in the energy field and with the development of liquefied natural gas, which is a huge industry for Qatar. And it was American companies that developed that capability. So we, as American companies had a foothold, we had American citizens there. That predates the time of the base. We also have American universities there. We have commercial interests there. We had a relationship on the political level where they were members of the GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council, members of the Arab League, so when it was dealing with worldwide issues or issues to the Middle East region, Qatar was an important player. Not always on the same page as we were, but they were an important player in the sense that they had connections with various governments and other groupings and transnational groups in the region so that they could serve as a mediator. They could serve as a conduit for discussions that otherwise might have been difficult.

Gen. Goldfein: 04:19 I'm proud to be a graduate of the 43rd Senior Seminar at the Department of State where I spent a year. I learned a ton about the Department of State and the Department of Defense and I became a huge fan. And of course as the Air Force guy in the class, my job was to give everybody their nickname or their call signs, which have actually lasted over the years. One of the things I learned at school, and this helped because I remember you and I Ambassador had this conversation in one of our first meetings, and that is that military power, at the end of the day, is best used to arm our diplomats to negotiate to a better peace. And so, whatever we do militarily has got to fit inside of our diplomatic planning. Everything we're doing at Qatar, everything we're doing in UAE, everything we were doing across the region, always had to fit into the larger construct of what the ambassadors were working. And so whether it was working with the Qatari military or the UAE or Saudi or Kuwait or Oman, or Bahrain, it was always a matter of having that military activity fit into a larger diplomatic plan. And I think that some of the most successful work we did was to ensure that there was just no air between us.

Amb. Ziadeh: 05:28 I think that's really true and I've found a great partner in General Goldfein. I will say that also I was privileged to attend the National War College for one year, and the reason I did it was because I understood in my career, as I was going to move up the ranks, that I needed to learn more about the military, the military culture, their ethos, how they work, how they prioritize. And so it was very important for me to immerse myself for that one year as one of the handful of State Department people with all the different services together. It was really a purple experience in the true joint sense of the word. And I learned also how important the whole national military strategy is really tied with a whole diplomatic component, informational, economic, sort of the dime, you know, and how we had to think in a very integrated way. So for me, really I think my first day in Qatar as Ambassador, I called over to see when I could meet with General Goldfein, because I knew he was my partner, and in all things that we were going to accomplish. For him, he had the region, but I had the relationship with the Qataris, which could sometimes be great and other times we would have difficulty in trying to explain things to them and explain them to Washington, which of course was my job. So the partnership that I developed with General Goldfein, with Dave, was really critical. And one of the things that I found was really important, and where he was so supportive to our efforts, first of all, he made sure he had a political advisor, a PolAd out there, and he chose a very senior person from state to work with him. And he used that individual in a way to really leverage relationships with key leader engagements throughout the region as well as in Qatar, which was very impressive. And the other thing that he did, which I really appreciated, when I suggested to him, look, our military attaches talk to one another, we talk to one another, but we need to have lines of communications at different levels across the board.

Amb. McCarthy: 07:39 Exactly.

Amb. Ziadeh: 07:39 And so my DCM [Deputy Chief of Mission] would go to al-Udeid every two weeks to meet with his deputy and the base commander, and then the following two weeks they would come to the embassy for a meeting with the DCM, so that we had multiple lines of communication and cooperation, up and down the chain of command. And I think it worked. It certainly helped us to deconflict, to keep on the same page and make sure our messaging was the same. And I think it fostered really good military-diplomatic cooperation, which I appreciated because you know, they take their lead from the leader and the message that's sent from the top.

Amb. McCarthy: 08:16 Absolutely.

Amb. Ziadeh: 08:17 And he was very clear about that and I was very grateful for that support.

Amb. McCarthy: 08:21 I'm glad you mentioned the cross training because unfortunately we no longer have the Senior Seminar. I did not benefit from it. I came right behind "Skippy".

Gen. Goldfein: 08:29 Bring it back.

Amb. McCarthy: 08:30 Bring it back. And, however, we still continue obviously to go to the War College and the other schools, and I think it is a critical thing that we don't highlight often enough. During your time together, you renegotiated this defense agreement. When a defense agreement is negotiated, who does what?

Amb. Ziadeh: 08:47 It is State led, and so we have an individual at the State Department who is tasked with the negotiations. But of course, as in all negotiations, it takes a lot of homework, a lot of research, and a lot of touching base with the important key players. So the team, although led by a State Department person, also had individuals from the Pentagon as well, from the military. We were in a sticky period because it expired in 2012 according to the Qataris. According to us, yes, the 20 years were up, but it's still in effect until somebody says it's no longer in effect. And this unfortunately made it much more sticky. Yes, they're good allies, but they're tough negotiators. This is where the role of the General and Dave's people out at al-Udeid was really critical in informing this process.

Gen. Goldfein: 09:40 So while I had the Department of Defense's equities to cover, it was very clear that I was on the Ambassador's wing throughout that and State Department had the lead. So it was really a matter of how to keep the connective tissue throughout. And this is one of the things I learned at the Senior Seminar and reinforced, is that it's actually really healthy to have what I would call respectful friction between the culture of the military and the culture of the Foreign Service. And here's how I would describe it, military folks, and we're all more alike than we are different, regardless of the color of our uniform, we like clarity. Give us the objectives, we will plan till the cows come home and I will present to you 15 PowerPoint charts, every color, branches, and sequels. And I'm in my absolute happy place.

Amb. McCarthy: 10:23 I'm smiling because we don't do that at the State Department.

Gen. Goldfein: 10:26 But that's where the healthy friction is actually good. You know, what I learned is that in the world of diplomacy, the last thing you want to do is get boxed in by those doggone military guys, because what you actually really need is maneuvering room to negotiate. And the world of diplomacy is more of the world of a bit of ambiguity and being able to maneuver. And so it's understanding the different cultures and having that respectful dialogue that gets you to the right place. Anytime I had a key leader engagement, before I went downtown to have a meeting, the first person I called was the Ambassador. And when I came out of that meeting, either I would swing by the embassy or I'd give a call and say, hey, let me tell you, let's just compare notes. And she would do the same. And so it was really helpful because there was never a day where I didn't know what she was thinking.

Amb. McCarthy: 11:09 And also you present a joint front so one can't be played off against the other, you know, in this case Qatar to get what it wants in the negotiations.

Gen. Goldfein: 11:18 They tried that a couple times with me, and we talked about this, where they tried to play the, "Well the ambassador said," I said, "Really? Well, you know what? I got my cell phone. Let me call her." "No, no, no sir. No, no."

Amb. Ziadeh: 11:29 But they learned very early on that we were totally lashed up.

Amb. McCarthy: 11:32 And our footprint there is expanding, as I understand. I mean I know that Secretary Pompeo just signed another memorandum and we have this new strategic dialogue on security and defense, and I wanted to ask you Dave, what has changed in the center on the main base, on the air base? What are the larger aims of the base today?

Gen. Goldfein: 11:52 Two things are going on. First, it's this continual transition from an expeditionary base to an enduring base, where the combined investment of the Qataris and the Americans to make this a more enduring location, for us to able to rotate in and out of, is where the base is headed. But I'll tell you something else that I think the Ambassador and I are pretty proud of. We started something together called the Gulf CAOC. CAOC stands for Combined Air Operations Center. Think of it as a large headquarters where you have every component represented. So as the commander there, I didn't have a small team of a few soldiers as a liaison element. I had 60 soldiers that worked for me, on the floor doing battlefield interaction and making sure that we were all connected. I had a very large team of Navy sailors. I had Coast Guard, I had interagency representation. As we all came together to do the operational level of military operations, we came up with the idea of, if in fact one of our tasks is to do integrated air and missile defense, and the key being integrated, how do we do that? And the answer is you've got to bring the Gulf countries into the headquarters and connect them up so that we can speak the language of integrated air and missile defense. And so we worked together because it was not only a military operation, it was very much a diplomatic piece, because we were inviting other countries into Qatar and they had to be, a sovereign country, they had to be willing to welcome them in and help us with that. That was about a year and a half, two year effort that we worked on together.

Amb. McCarthy: 13:20 This brings me to the issue of Qatar as a member of the Gulf Cooperative Council, which you mentioned Susan, the GCC. What is the GCC and what are its objectives?

Amb. Ziadeh: 13:30 The Gulf Cooperation Council was founded in 1981. It's objectives were basically a way for the GCC countries to work together, at first more on economic issues, looking at things like common tariffs, open borders, movement of people from one country to another without passports, potentially a non-tax situation among the different countries. Even potentially a common currency at one point, I know it's hard to believe now with the divisions in the Gulf, but originally it was very economic focus. The other aspect of it, which was increasingly so but not initially, was the regional security component. As you see Iran assert itself more aggressively in the region, you also saw the GCC shifting a bit in terms of its leadership, its secretariat. For example, the head of the GCC now is a former military person from Bahrain, so you started to see it shift more on issues of regional security, in addition to economic.

Amb. McCarthy: 14:33 There have been difficulties within the GCC, I mean especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, with the current blockade that Saudi Arabia and others have imposed on Qatar. How does it affect our military interests and our diplomatic interests?

Gen. Goldfein: 14:47 Overall I would say it's unhelpful. And it becomes a challenge and I'll tell you just one example of where it becomes a challenge. I go back to, how do you truly defend the region against a ballistic missile threat when the reaction time from some of the northern parts of the GCC countries is upwards of six, seven minutes from launch to impact. While that kind of timeframe is actually not the time to start building relationships of trust and confidence when you rely on each other. And I would explain to each of the ministers of defense and the chiefs of defense when I would go through their country and say, you know, the nature of ballistic missile defense in an integrated fashion is that the worst missile shot is nose to nose, right? It's actually the hardest shot to hit a bullet with a bullet. The best shot is when it's sort of on its side, right? What that means is that the best shot to defend Qatar may not come from Qatar. The best shot to defend Qatar may actually come from the UAE. The best shot to defend Saudi Arabia may come from Kuwait, may come from Qatar, so if in fact you're going to defend your region and you want the best possible method of protecting your citizens, then you've got to be integrated and therefore you've got to be able to build this interoperability.

Amb. Ziadeh: 16:00 It's unhelpful also in terms of coordination of policy, certainly on the military side, that's true, but as resources and focus and money are spent on this debilitating conflict, which really doesn't seem to have an end in sight, then it just weakens the countries in terms of their focus and the kinds of interoperability, the kinds of mutual defense, the kinds of common strategies and security, that they could be more focused on. It's even problematic in terms of movement of people and goods and things where new strategies have had to have been developed. But all more costly, more cumbersome and certainly not the kinds of situations you want to be in when reacting to a threat.

Amb. McCarthy: 16:44 I wanted to turn now to a little bit about our complicated relationship on the counter terrorism front with Qatar. Qatar considers such groups as Hamas as legitimate organizations. It supports the Muslim Brotherhood and also engages with Iran. On the other hand, it has supported the rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria and on occasion has helped negotiate hostage releases from al-Qaeda. How do we balance these interests from a diplomatic perspective and how does this affect our military operations in the region?

Amb. Ziadeh: 17:15 Even at times historically where we've been at odds with the Qataris, particularly during the Bush administration where there were a lot of tensions over Al Jazeera news broadcasts, the Minister of Defense used to tell me, the Emir used to say, "how are your friends the Americans?", meaning the military. So actually what the military did got us through rough patches whereby there were tensions in other areas where the relationship could have faltered. So that is an important nod to the military, which got us through that period. The Qataris are a small country. They're surrounded by big powerful neighbors and their strategy has always been we're friend to all, we're open to all, whoever wants to be here is welcomed. Now they have their own political ideas, certainly support of The Muslim Brotherhood during the period of the Arab spring was something that they thought, okay, that this is maybe the new wave in the Arab world. And the people had spoken in a country like Egypt.

Amb. McCarthy: 18:14 Right.

Amb. Ziadeh: 18:14 For them, they were supporting the people. They certainly have supported Hamas. They see it as a resistance group different than what we see. But I will say that even after Hamas was expelled out of Syria as a result of the start of the civil war there, they had nowhere to go and rather than going to Iran, the Qataris were willing to take them in to be able to keep an eye on them, to be able to at times use them as a conduit for messages, particularly when there were discussions on issues of potential Palestinian reconciliation, et cetera. So where the Taliban is concerned, there were concerns from the US side and from the Afghan Government side, that there should be a reconciliation process, potential political talks as a way of trying to solve the issue of our presence in the war in Afghanistan. Their presence there was for the purposes of potential peace talks. Historically and at the time when the Taliban was looking for where they might have a few of their individuals to have those discussions, they wanted Qatar. Qatar agreed and we said, okay, that's fine. This could potentially be helpful to us in the future in our diplomatic maneuvering.

Gen. Goldfein: 19:29 This is where the relationship of trust that you build between the Ambassador and a general pays off. And when I speak to groups and young commanders, I say, listen, you know, this is not a relationship that just happens. You've got to invest in it. You've got to build it. Because what you want is a relationship of trust so that when things get rough, you've already got that built. And so just one example where we had, during my time there, if you remember Ambassador, we had a rough patch with Pakistan, a tragic incident where some Pakistani military were killed, and diplomatic relationships for a period of time got very strained. I was on the phone with the Pakistan Air Chief about twice a week or more. Keeping those communication lines open so that when it came time to rebuild the diplomatic relationship, there was a bridge there. And so sometimes military to military relations can be maintained, while we work to a better place diplomatically. And there were several occasions where I was able to keep communication lines open, right, in a way that was supportive of the State Department and the Ambassador.

Amb. McCarthy: 20:35 Another aspect of our relationship with Qatar is, well, we have business relationships, energy relationships, but also they are major purchasers of US arms. Can you explain a little bit to our listeners how these sales come about? What's the role of the Department of Defense? What's the role of the Department of State?

Amb. Ziadeh: 20:52 When I first got to Qatar in 2011, and that's when the General was there as well, the only US aircraft, or weapons, or anything, that they had, actually were a couple of C-17's and two C-130's and these had been purchased through direct commercial sales, DCS. The other two C-130's arrived, I think within my first year. Historically, the Qataris had gotten most of their stuff from the French and they had a very strong relationship with the French. Despite the fact that the base was there, and the Americans were there, and they counted on us, and they were very supportive of us. But when it came to purchases in weaponry and training, it was the French. So, I put it into my head coming out of the War College, okay, we have to get them to shift to American equipment and we have to develop a relationship with them on foreign military sales. You know, whenever I would say the words FMS, they'd say, Oh God, please can't we do this DCS? It's like the whole process of FMS was so alien to them. Their eyes just glazed over and they wanted to move on and figure out how they can get what they wanted without having to do the FMS process.

Amb. McCarthy: 22:05 Because the FMS process is quite convoluted.

Amb. Ziadeh: 22:08 It is complicated. Of course it has its safeguards and my point to them was always, but you want these kinds of things and these things have to be released and they can't be released unless you go through the FMS process. I'm sure that my colleague here, Dave, did all of that on his side. I would do it on the political side, not with the military, with the Foreign Minister, with the Prime Minister, with the Emir. I'm very proud to say, in cooperation with my military colleagues, we actually had the largest FMS sale that year, in 2014 when I left, when we actually sold them the Patriot missile defense system and this was their first FMS sale ever. We also sold them Apache helicopters, some Javelin missiles, and since then now F-15 fighter jets and other equipment. All of which, of course, the General and his team plus elements from my embassy would work with the Qataris to try and explain, but to get them over the psychological hump of taking American and then understanding what that meant.

Gen. Goldfein: 23:12 I had a formative lesson early in my tenure. I was in Abu Dhabi, we were working with the UAE Air Force on a particular kind of a sale, you know, aircraft and equipment, that kind of thing. And ambassador Corbin, at the time, pulled me in and he said, "listen," he goes, "I don't know what the Department of Defense's priorities are. So you're in here talking about airplanes. Then you leave and the Navy comes in and is talking about ships. Then the Navy leaves and the Marine Corps comes in, they're talking about amphibious." And he goes, "and so I'm trying to work a country strategy here." And so he says, "I'll tell you what, why don't we do this? Why don't we line up what the Department of Defense priorities are in the region? And then I can actually help." And it was a bit of an ahah moment, you know, and I went back and I actually talked to, then, General Mattis who was the CENTCOM Commander, and we orchestrated a coordination effort with the embassy and said all right, we're going to line up, sort of, one to end. What are our real priorities in the region and how do we work through the ambassador and the country team to achieve that? And I'll tell you, then we came back and I believe I talked to the Ambassador and we started doing that across all the countries. What some might have perceived as slowing us down actually made us move far faster.

Amb. Ziadeh: 24:22 And move more strategically. I've been involved in FMS cases and you have to pull every lever. You've got to work at all diplomatic and military leverage. You've got to use your cultural knowledge, you've got to use your language, for the competition is doing the same.

Gen. Goldfein: 24:35 Well, and it also made us more interoperable, because what I would tell them is, look, I don't really actually have a dog in the fight. I'm an operational commander. I'm going to employ combat capability. What you buy is up to you, but at some point you've got to make a decision on what coalition you're going to join. And if that is a joint coalition with the United States, you need to be interoperable with us.

Amb. McCarthy: 25:00 Interoperable, absolutely.

Gen. Goldfein: 25:00 Somebody may sell you cheap hardware, but you're going to pay three times the amount to eventually try to connect it into our system so we can be interoperable. So why don't we do that at the outset. So what ambassador Corbin taught me was, if you can think about this from a joint perspective, you can actually get farther. And when you can link that joint perspective into the country team going forward and get the ambassador behind you, there's nothing stopping you.

Amb. McCarthy: 25:24 Did you see many moves in this area from Russia, to sell equipment?

Amb. Ziadeh: 25:29 The Russians were there, selling. I think in part it was more at the time, at least in Qatar, what they were focused on, and they were focused on aircraft. When I was there, a lot of the focus was on aircraft, and in that sense it was, okay, they had flown Mirages, so they were used to the French. The British were very aggressive with their Typhoon, and then of course there we were with either F-15's, F-16's, F-18's, with different companies and my goal was to sell them American.

Gen. Goldfein: 26:00 The helpful part was that every country that had a bone yard was full of Russian equipment that couldn't fly.

Amb. McCarthy: 26:06 I've been posted to a couple.

Gen. Goldfein: 26:08 So it sort of spoke to itself. You want something that actually flies, buy US.

Amb. McCarthy: 26:13 We have spent so many years in the Middle East and focusing on the Middle East where we have air power superiority. General, you've spoken about the need to retrain ourselves and to focus on how to deter and counter near-peer adversaries, like Russia and China. What does that mean for our operations in places such as Qatar?

Gen. Goldfein: 26:32 If you take a look at the operations we've been doing in Syria, I don't know that you could find a more complex battle space than what we've been operating in in Syria. Several countries all operating in a rather small battle space, if you think about it relative to air power and how we employ. Several different militaries, complex operations all going on on the ground and yet it's a testament to the precision and the professionalism of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, that we've been able to operate together in that complex environment. That's actually a pretty good testing ground, if you will, for the kind of complex operations we see going on in the future. There's always areas that we want to look at for improvement. The National Defense Strategy that each of the services was part of writing under the leadership of the Secretary of Defense actually gives us rather clear guidance on areas that we need to focus on for peer conflict, as we defend the homeland, ensure that we have a safe, secure, effective nuclear deterrent, that we defeat a rogue nation who may take us on, and then we maintain this campaign of pressure against violent extremism. All the time. And doing that together means that we have got to increase the readiness of our force. That's why you're seeing all the service chiefs and all the service secretaries really focused on readiness and bringing the capabilities to bear that we know we're going to need.

Amb. McCarthy: 27:54 In terms of planning for the future. Our military and our diplomats work side by side in so many areas. You were together in Qatar and we see this jointly and this is the focus of the podcast, across the world. What can be improved in our national security strategic planning process to better integrate our military capacities and our diplomatic capabilities?

Gen. Goldfein: 28:17 First of all, both my experience as a student at the Foreign Service Institute, friendships I made, and then my time as a commander working with the Ambassador and the country teams, I think Secretary Mattis had it right when he said, "if you're going to take more resources out of the Department of State, you better get me more bombs." So first and foremost, I think it's really important for the military to be strong, vocal advocates for the Department of State and everything that our Foreign Service Officers and our diplomats bring to the fight. Because our job is a supporting role, to make sure that the Secretary of State is armed with credible military options that the adversary knows we can execute. The more we can do planning together to arm our diplomats to negotiate ourselves to a better piece, the better we do. Because really and truly, our job in some ways is to stay out of war, but if called upon to make sure that we can win.

Amb. Ziadeh: 29:17 I would go back to the training issue again because I think it's such an important component. As General Goldfien said, the people that I trained with at the War College where people I saw constantly in the region, coming through, and people that I worked with. And it was an important relationship to be able to draw on. I think also, in an embassy, when we do our mission program plan and we think about what are the objectives and what we want to achieve, we take a whole of government approach and that includes the military component. So, if we want to achieve a political objective, but there is a military component to it, or the threat of military, ways that we can leverage the strength of the military that has to go into the planning. How that can be elevated more broadly institutionally is a good question because I think in many places we are doing it, but it hasn't been institutionalized in a way that could be more helpful for the planning in a whole-of-government approach going forward.

Amb. McCarthy: 30:17 And as we go to Congress, we go to different committees at different times. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a joint presentation at the strategic level.

Gen. Goldfein: 30:25 I do remember times when Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus...

Amb. McCarthy: 30:29 They are the exception.

Gen. Goldfein: 30:31 We need more of that.

Amb. McCarthy: 30:32 We do.

Gen. Goldfein: 30:33 To be able to sit side by side and present, it's the diplomatic power strengthened by and armed by the military power that allows us to do the business of the nation and the business of our allies and partners. The more of that we do, the better

Amb. McCarthy: 30:46 I know that, as moving forward as we move away from certain areas and we will hopefully see an outcome in terms of Afghanistan with these talks, there may be fewer occasions for a while for both our diplomats and our military to be together in the field. What would you say to those who are the rising leaders about the need to understand each other's cultures?

Amb. Ziadeh: 31:09 Even if we're not going to be in a state of war per se, I think we will have, still, military deployed and military, even if it's in the United States that has responsibilities for different AORs or areas of responsibility. So the need to coordinate the need to learn from one another, the need to integrate our thinking in something that is more joint, is still paramount.

Gen. Goldfein: 31:35 Selfless and courageous service is not something that's only done in uniform. I walk through an airport in uniform, I'm not going to get five steps before someone's going to come up and want to buy me a cup of coffee or thank me for my service, such is the nature of America's appreciation today for the military. But I know of our Foreign Service Officers right now who are everywhere on the planet and they're serving in some really bad locations doing the nation's business. And I could tell you story after story of courage, courage under fire, courage of our Foreign Service Officers. And so it starts with a mutual respect of what it is that we do as selfless servants. If we start the dialogue with that understanding, that it takes both of us together, bringing the combined might of the Department of Defense working with and for the Department of State, is when we're going to get our most work done.

Amb. McCarthy: 32:33 Thank you both for what you did in protecting our country and for encouraging younger people to join public service, whether in uniform or out. Thank you for participating in our podcast.

Amb. Ziadeh: 32:47 Thank you for the opportunity and the opportunity to see my good friend General Goldfein.

Gen. Goldfein: 32:51 Yeah, amen.