The current memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has halted any Defense Department assistance for congressional trips to Israel and limited visits by defense and military officials.
According to officials from the defense department, the memo, issued on October 31, aims to discourage “combat tourism.” The military is already heavily involved in the region, making it unnecessary for additional military aircraft to transport non-essential items.
According to a military spokesperson, the limitations were implemented due to the potential danger and excessive strain on personnel who would be assisting with a trip to Israel.
The memo was first revealed by Punchbowl News.
The senior leaders of the Pentagon who are not involved in supporting Israel must obtain approval from either the defense secretary or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before visiting Israel. According to defense officials, assistance is being transported to Israel on a daily basis.
According to the memo, the Defense Department will still provide assistance for visits from President Biden and Vice President Harris. Additionally, the restrictions on travel do not affect the secretary of defense, deputy secretary of defense, chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the leaders of each military branch.
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