In 1983, U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf region was
organized as U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). CENTCOM’s original
area of responsibility (AOR) included countries of the Northern
Tier, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa. Expansions
in 1996 and 1999 brought the Seychelles and five former Soviet republics
in Central Asia into CENTCOM's AOR.
As of 2005, CENTCOM referred to its AOR as containing four sub-areas.
One of these, the Northern Red Sea and Arabian Peninsula Area (outlined
in yellow highlighter on the map), corresponds to the region typically
understood as the center of the "Middle East." Neither
Israel nor Palestine is defined as part of CENTCOM's AOR.
Sources: Ronald H. Cole,
et al., The History of the Unified Command Plan, 1946-1999 (Washington
DC, Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, 2003); James E. Hines, “History of U.S. Central
Command,” U.S. Central Command, http://www.centcom.mil/aboutus/History%20of%20CENTCOM.
doc; “AOR: Area of Responsibility,” U.S. Central