I’m on Capitol Hill next week to update Congress on the successes and challenges of U.S. European Command and the security environment in Europe. As you’d expect, this is a BIG deal for us, and we’ve been preparing for months.
Although I am called to testify as a U.S. military officer, we will of course touch upon the Alliance and my role as Supreme Allied Commander. I’ll be testifying along with my friends and colleagues GEN Jim Mattis of U.S. Joint Forces Command and GEN Kip Ward of U.S. Africa Command.
One of the big things I plan to emphasize is the importance of international and interagency partnering to address the security challenges we collectively face. Congress of course provides us with the resources and authorities through which we help build the capacity of our partners and allies. This is essential, as our partners and allies help us meet near-term requirements in Afghanistan, as well as the longer-term requirements for our theater security and the security of our homeland.
A couple of examples of “building partnership capacity” in action may be helpful to underscore the point in more tangible terms. (I deliberately use the word “partnership”– rather than “partner” – to emphasize the fact that we get so much out of these interactions). In Albania, for example, we have been able to conduct security sector reform assessments, an inter-agency effort critical to integrating Balkan countries in the European community.
Or another example: Our Marines are conducting pre-deployment training in the Republic of Georgia, which will result in Georgian forces deployed to Afghanistan. As capabilities improve, Georgian forces are expected to be able to operate independently and eventually stand up a training program to prepare future Georgian forces for deployment.
We’ll certainly talk about Afghanistan in some depth, given my responsibilities on the EUCOM side with preparing our forces for forward deployment; and on the NATO side as the strategic commander for NATO operations which of course include Afghanistan.
And we’ll no doubt cover a host of other topics, as well, ranging from support to U.S. service members and families in Europe to Russia to missile defense.
I always look forward to the chance to interact with Congress and answer their well researched and frequently challenging questions. I have many friends on the Hill, both on the staffs and among the members themselves and it is also enjoyable to catch up with them during the pre-hearing “calls” on the members.
I suspect the Pentagon Channel and/or C-SPAN will cover the hearings if you want to watch the testimony in “real time”. Alternatively, we’ll get it posted on our website afterwards so you can catch it.
I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!
Adm. Jim Stavridis
Commander, U.S. European Command and
Supreme Allied Commander Europe