Thank you Professor Pascu.
The topic of our discussion is one that the US Government and we at the U.S. European Command are engaged in every day. I would like to focus my remarks on what we at the US European Command are doing to assist our
European Allies and Partners. President Obama visited Germany, just two weeks ago and reaffirmed U.S. commitment to Europe.
As he said during his press conference with Chancellor Merkel: “The United States was proud to stand with the people of Germany as this nation and this continent reunited, and rebuilt, and reached for a better future."
And it’s a reminder that the commitment of the United States to Europe is enduring and is rooted in the values we share. Our commitment to democracy; our commitment to rule of law; our commitment to the dignity of all people -- in our own countries and around the world. Our alliance with our NATO Allies has been the cornerstone of our U.S. Foreign Policy for nearly 70 years -- in good times and bad -- and through Presidents of both parties because the U.S has a fundamental interest in Europe's stability and security. “
Europe is facing many challenges and as General Scaparrotti, the US European Commander and Supreme Allied Commander has said, our role working with our European Allies and Partners is evolving.
“The US European Command is a command in transition. The strategic environment is changing rapidly across our entire area of operations– 50 countries in Europe and Israel… We must actively shift our mindset, vigilance, plans and posture to prepare for today’s challenges and those in the future.”
We must shift our focus from engagement and assurance to deterrence and defense. This includes strategies to ensure both internal and external security which we can only do by having strong alliances. NATO Allies and partners are vital to U.S. and European security. Leaders of the 28 NATO Allies demonstrated this unity at the Warsaw Summit. We believe that unity of alliance is the best way to address new challenges. The NATO leaders also agreed to EU-NATO cooperation, which is another example of strong Trans-Atlantic unity.
Under General Scaparrotti’s leadership, US European Command is focusing on four enduring priorities. First, we must have ready and postured forces. This will help us to deter adversaries, support allies, assist partners and counter transnational threats to Europe’s internal and external security. Together with our Allies and partners, we must execute military operations and contribute to crisis management.
At the Warsaw Summit, NATO Allies agreed to strengthen their deterrence and defense posture. The leaders agreed to deploy four multinational battalion sized battle groups to provide deterrence in the Alliance’s north-eastern flank.
This initiative is called “Enhanced Forward Presence,” and is a clear demonstration of Allied solidarity and determination to defend NATO territory against any possible aggression. The deployment is defensive, proportionate and fully in line with our international commitments.
The U.S., Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom have each committed to leading a multinational battalion in the eastern part of the Alliance.
In NATO’s southeastern flank, Romania will lead a multinational brigade with Bulgaria. This multinational action is aimed at demonstrating the strength of the transatlantic bond and NATO unity.
These efforts will increase our responsiveness and readiness by improving infrastructure to enhance our ability to provide a rapid response against aggression and malign influence. EUCOM’s second priority is strengthen our strategic partnerships and build partner capacity, capability, and interoperability.
Over the last two years EUCOM launched Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) which is funded annually by our European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). Since ERI’s inception, the U.S. has quadrupled this effort’s budget to roughly $3.42 billion. This funding is separate from our financial commitments to NATO and is focused on training, joint exercises with our Allies, positioning more rotational forces, prepositioning equipment and infrastructure projects.
We fund upgrades to existing host nation facilities and training sites to increase the efficiency and quality of our training events with our Allies and Partners.
This initiative will also assist our Allies and Partners to build capacity to defend their own nations as well as contribute to the defense of the Alliance. Our third priority is to develop and maintain agility in a dynamic security environment. Given the many challenges that we face from terrorism, instability along Europe’s borders, and the flow of migrants into Europe from conflict areas, we need to use a “whole of government” approach to these problems.
As the Civilian Deputy to the EUCOM Commander, I oversee these interagency efforts. I am a career diplomat with 26 years of experience working mainly in Europe and Central Asia. This gives me a unique perspective on how to utilize an interagency approach.
The challenges we face are NOT just ones for the military, but also for law enforcement agencies and other government agencies such as the EU’s Frontex and US Agency for International Development who deal with humanitarian crises.
EUCOM hosts representatives from several US government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Justice and the Department of Energy. These representatives work with their European counter parts to counter transnational threats from terrorist organizations like ISIL and counter narcotics traffickers.
They also work with partners to build capacity in law enforcement, rule of law and border security to help counter external threats to European security. The final priority of our commander, is to build and maintain a resilient force - this deals directly with people - to develop resilient service members, our department civilians and their families.
People are the foundation of an effective force - and they are the ones that ensure we are engaged, postured and ready to execute the full range of military missions and exercises with our indispensable European Allies and partners. A resilient force is a fundamental element of our success and essential to supporting a Europe that is “whole, free and at peace." There are many threats to European security today.
No nation can confront today’s challenges alone. By working together, maintaining strong partnerships and alliances, we are stronger and able to deal with present and future challenges.