I had a good series of meetings in Lisbon, Portugal on Monday. The gathering in Lisbon was with all of the Defense Chiefs from the 28 nations of NATO. We focused on two key topics for the alliance: Afghanistan and the Strategic Concept.
Afghanistan, of course, is the “here and now.” General Stan McChrystal presented his classified briefing on the situation there. He emphasized the need to protect the Afghan population in order to defeat the insurgency; the requirement for robust training for Afghan security forces; and the imperative to achieve the right balance of civil-military efforts in this challenging situation.
The Strategic Concept is, on the other hand, all about the future of NATO. Every ten years, the alliance tends to take a step back and assess where it is headed. One of the distinguished speakers, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, spoke of needing to understand “the four Rs” of NATO: relevance, range, resources, and results. I think he has it about right, and he specifically talked about the need to “get the message right” to the younger generations who have little understanding of what this transatlantic bridge is all about.
I jumped on a plane yesterday and headed to Croatia and Montenegro. This time, wearing my hat as Commander of U.S. European Command (EUCOM), I am headed to observe a superb special forces exercise in Croatia, then attend a five-nation conference on Balkan security in Montenegro.
The flight down gave me time to finalize the fundamentals for EUCOM: a vision, mission, set of themes, and a motto.
EUCOM Mission: U.S. European Command conducts military operations and builds partner capacity to enhance transatlantic security and defend the homeland forward.
EUCOM Vision: An agile security organization with a "whole of government" approach seeking to support enduring stability and peace in Europe and Eurasia.
• Ready forces provide regional security.
• Mutual security challenges require cooperative solutions.
• EUCOM is committed to enduring partnerships.
EUCOM Motto: "Stronger Together"
Getting the fundamentals right is important, and I think we’ve got it right here. As always, though, I look forward to hearing what you think.
It’s a busy week of both NATO and U.S. European Command business, but with good progress on all fronts – and thank goodness for the ability to move so rapidly between capitals to be part of security in Europe!
Admiral James G. Stavridis
U.S. European Command