Press Statement for Northern European CHoD Conference / 10 May 2017
Press Statement of General Curtis Scaparrotti for Northern European CHoD Conference on 10 May 2017

Good afternoon.  I would like to start by thanking General Byden for hosting the event, it has been a great conference. It has been a tremendous opportunity to come together and discuss common challenges that face our nations. Sweden continues to be a critical partner in addressing these challenges.  And as I said, by hosting this event you have demonstrated your leadership among this group and contributions to peace and stability that you make, and that Sweden makes, not only in Europe, but global bases as w

The purpose of our conference today was fourfold:  First, we want to support stronger strategic relationships between the U.S. and Europe as we partner together to defend our shared values.  Second, we want to improve the understanding of the issues affecting us all.  Third, we want to exchange views on cooperation and interoperability.  And finally, we want to come up with actionable steps that we can take to enhance regional security.

Our conference addressed three key areas of concern, or challenges, that we all face.  The first challenge is to deter Russia from further acts of aggression and malign influence, not only here in Northern Europe, but across the European continent.  Russian aggression threatens the stability and prosperity of Europe.  From the invasion of Georgia in 2008, through the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and, more recently, to the interference in the legitimate political processes across Europe and the United States, Russia is attempting to undermine the trans-Atlantic alliance and partnerships.  Simply put, we must deter further such actions by Russia and strengthen our defense against their attempts to destabilize the international order.

The next area of focus was to enable NATO Allies and partners.  Both Sweden and Finland are Enhanced Opportunities Partners in NATO  With this relationship, they workclosely with NATO, both in Europe andabroad in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.  Together, we ensure the defense ofour nations from state and non-state actors and project security beyond our borders.

The third challenge we discussed was counteringl trans-national threats.  Building on the momentum from our recent Defeating-Violent Extremist Organizations conference held a couple weeks ago in Wiesbaden, we hadsubstantive discussions on leveraging the resources of NATO and partner nations,and other European Organizations to apply a comprehensive approach to defending Europe from extremist threats.

These extremist threats, whether home grown or exported from the European periphery, can only be defeated through the application of all elements of power--diplomatic, informational, economic, and in addition to military force.  It will take close collaboration between law enforcement, judicial bodies, intelligence agencies and the military, in a networked alliance, to reduce and eliminate the violent extremist threat.  These conferences are opportunities for us to discuss not only gaps in our capabilities, but also successes so we can share them and learn from one another.

So again, I would just say thanks Mike, General Byden. Thanks for your hospitality and for Sweden’s partnership as we face these challenges together.  I appreciate it. Now we can take some questions together.

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