WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Romania's Minister of Defense Mircea Dusa today at the Pentagon, a meeting that produced a number of significant agreements, which Pentagon Spokesman George Little said will enhance the strong and productive partnership the U.S. enjoys with Romania.
Among the agreements reached Little said, is for Romania to support logistics in and out of Afghanistan, including both personnel and cargo movement.
"Secretary Hagel praised this agreement, which is particularly important as the U.S. prepares to wind down transit center operations at Manas, Kyrgystan, next year," Little said in a statement issued after the meeting. "Secretary Hagel highlighted this agreement as a further testament to Romania's steadfast commitment to the ISAF mission and its commitment to regional and international security," he added.
In addition, Little said Hagel thanked Romania for its decision to host the Aegis Ashore missile defense system, emphasizing that the agreement reaffirms and strengthens the collective defense upon which NATO was founded. "This system represents an important component of the larger European Phased Adaptive Approach and is expected to be operational in 2015." At Hagel's direction, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James N. Miller will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Aegis Ashore system at Deveselu later this month.
Little said Hagel further praised Romania's decision to purchase 12 F-16 aircraft from Portugal. He added that this significant investment in air superiority capabilities will open the door for greater regional collaboration and will be valuable to future NATO and coalition operations.
"Secretary Hagel reaffirmed that Romania is one of the United States' staunchest allies. The two leaders also agreed to look for ways to expand our strong military cooperation as well as to support Romania's efforts to become a leader in the region and in NATO."