Gates Terms NATO Summit "Tremendous Success"

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia, Nov. 21, 2010 – The NATO summit that concluded yesterday in Lisbon, Portugal, was a “tremendous success” from the U.S. standpoint, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Gates arrived here this morning to attend a conference of Western Hemisphere defense ministers.

In a roundtable discussion with reporters, the secretary said the summit also was a success for President Barack Obama, who secured agreements on missile defense, NATO reform, Afghanistan, a strategic partnership with Russia and the alliance’s new strategic concept.

“All of the things that we’ve been working on for the last two years came to fruition in an extraordinary way in Lisbon,” Gates said.

On Afghanistan, the secretary noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was first to articulate the goal of completing transition of responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Now that NATO has agreed to that target, he added, the Afghans will have to do their part to ensure success.

“Having this goal out there for the Afghans, I think, has real value,” he said. “And frankly, I think it also sends the message to many of our partners and perhaps to our own people that having been at war in Afghanistan for nine years or so, we do not anticipate this thing going on forever.”

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

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MORAG, Poland -- A member of Moraggâ?s local TV station along with a group of other people from Morag watch as Soldiers from Alpha Battery, 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, U.S. Army Europe, conduct railhead unloading operations here, May 24. Although no actual missiles were shipped, this is the first time a U.S. missile system has come to Poland for a new training program intended to familiarize Polish armed forces on the Patriot Missile system. The training is designed to provide mutual benefits for improving Polish defense capabilities while developing U.S. patriot crew members and batteries. This type of mutual training helps to expand U.S. and Poland air and missile defense cooperation while strengthening the partnership between the U.S. and Poland. The official opening of the training hosted by Polish officials, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland and USAREUR is scheduled for May 26 in Morag. (U.S. Army Europe photo by Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols)

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