STUTTGART, Germany – The U.S. European Command commander and eight European Chiefs of Defense and their senior enlisted leaders attended the annual Central European Chiefs of Defense conference in Bled, Slovenia Sept. 27 and 28, and discussed the NATO alliance’s collective security and responses to current security threats.
The event was co-hosted by the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Major General Andrej Osterman and Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander, EUCOM, and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, to promote solidarity in addressing current security issues.
They were joined by leaders from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia
and Hungary along with Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
During the conference, Scaparrotti emphasized EUCOM’s commitment to the collective defense of NATO allies while attendees traded insights on capabilities and regional cooperation in the future.
At the conclusion of the event, Scaparrotti addressed reporters and said the conference engaged in a vigorous discussion on the challenges encountered by NATO, methods to enhance the alliance and ways to expand the self-sufficiency of allied forces in Europe.
“We discussed ways to strengthen the alliance: improving freedom of movement of our military forces in Europe; Russian aggression and malign influence; and countering transnational threats, particularly the migrant crisis,” said Scaparrotti. “This greatly impacted many of the countries represented in this conference and in particular Slovenia as well.”
An initiative by Scaparrotti and his EUCOM senior enlisted leader, Fleet Master Chief Cris Addington, the senior enlisted leaders attended the conference for the first time with their respective Chiefs of Defense. Scaparrotti stressed the importance of the presence of these leaders at the conference as they are the key to ensuring commanders’ priorities are communicated throughout their respective forces.
“We discussed the value of the State Partnership Program, and all of its participants, as well as highlighted the value of a strong and professional enlisted corps and non-commissioned officer corps, which is a significant interest to me—this is one area that I feel we can leverage to improve the interoperability and readiness of the alliance,” said Scaparrotti.