STUTTGART, Germany – Chiefs of defense from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia met in Budva, Montenegro, Oct. 4-5, for the U.S.-Adriatic Charter (A-5) Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) conference. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, deputy commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), co-chaired the event alongside Montenegrin Chief of Defense, Brigadier General Dragutin Dakić.
The goal of the conference was to discuss methods for strengthening multinational capabilities in southeastern Europe, with the aim of enhancing NATO readiness in the region. The annual A-5 CHOD conference is a forum that builds on activities throughout the year and focuses regional military leaders on cooperative activities leading to greater NATO integration.
At the conference, Twitty and the chiefs of defense from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, collectively signed a joint statement of commitment to the principles of the A-5. The joint statement is an annually-signed official document that further deepens areas of military cooperation and highlights the importance of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. Collectively, the A-5 supports member states efforts to modernize defense forces, increase smart defense spending, and reduce dependence on Russia equipment.
“I am particularly honored to be here in Montenegro to participate in the U.S-Adriatic Charter Chiefs of Defense conference and join you in the celebration of Montenegro's Armed Forces Day,” said Twitty at the conference. “U.S. European Command remains committed to the security and stability of southeast Europe.”
The conference also focused on strong military-to-military relationships built between the U.S. and Eastern European countries in recent years. One example of this is the State Partnership Program (SPP), in which a state’s National Guard is partnered with armed forces or the equivalent in another European country, such as Albania and New Jersey, the Republic of Macedonia and Vermont, and Montenegro and Maine.
These partnerships allow for regular training between U.S. and host nation forces, which creates enduring security cooperation relationships with our allies and partners. The SPP has been successfully building relationships since 1993 and now includes 75 partnerships with 81 nations around the globe.
Following the CHOD conference, Montenegro celebrated its Armed Forces Day. Twitty participated with key Montenegrin leadership, further cementing the strong relationship between Montenegro and the U.S.
USEUCOM remains committed to strengthening alliances and partnerships in the region.