Departure of Special Presidential Envoy John Allen and Appointment of Brett McGurk

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 23, 2015

From his military service in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to building a coalition to confront ISIL, General John Allen has committed his life to service and to country.

We worked closely together during his time as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, as we led discussions with Israel and the Palestinians to develop effective security options in the context of a two state solution. And over the past 13 months we’ve worked even more closely as he organized a global coalition that now consists of 65 partners dedicated to defeating Da’esh across multiple lines of effort.

I have relied on -- and deeply valued -- General Allen's advice and counsel. He will be sorely missed when he departs his position on November 12.

Last year we asked John to give six months to this urgent mission. He served well beyond that, providing critical leadership to both Coalition and our own U.S. efforts. It was not an easy decision for him to continue his government service. But patriotism and a selfless dedication to keeping America safe spurred him on. I'm deeply grateful for that, as I am for the loyalty and support of John's wife Kathy -- who has been at his side for more than three decades and served our nation every bit as much as he has.

Under John's leadership, we have made strong progress on our campaign to degrade and defeat Da'esh. He worked relentlessly to build a vision among a diverse group of nations and bound them together with common purpose. General Allen traveled to more than 30 capitals around the world and in so doing, garnered international support for a multifaceted approach to attack and diminish the threat posed by this brutal terrorist group.

Through collective action and General Allen’s leadership, this Coalition focuses not only on military coordination, but also disrupting the recruitment, travel, and sustainment of foreign terrorist fighters; countering Da'esh’s extortion and exploitation of economic and energy resources, and its use of the financial and banking system; exposing Da'esh’s message of hate and violence, while presenting an alternate and inclusive vision of hope for a better future; and stabilizing areas in Iraq liberated from Da'esh’s control by helping the Iraqi government restore local services and policing to enable the safe, voluntary, and sustainable return of refugees and the internally displaced.

Through it all John’s Deputy, Brett McGurk, has worked tirelessly with him providing sound advice and a steady voice within our government and with Coalition leaders, playing a key role in developing our strategy. There is no one in our government who understands better than Brett McGurk the complexities of the challenges we face in confronting Da'esh -- in the region and elsewhere. I welcome his appointment to succeed General Allen as the Special Presidential Envoy. ‎ Brett has, as General Allen had, my full trust and confidence as we continue the difficult but necessary work ahead.