President Barack Obama recently unveiled new strategic guidance on American defense in the 21st century. The guidance is designed to clarify America’s strategic interests in the world as the U.S. approaches the end of ten years of war and faces tighter budgets. As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon recently explained, the new strategy reaffirms unwavering U.S. commitment to European security and close cooperation with NATO Allies and European partners.
The transatlantic relationship remains an essential source of stability in an unpredictable world, and Europe is America’s principal partner in promoting global and economic security. The new defense strategy will ensure the continued ability of the U.S. to meet its commitment to collective defense under NATO’s Article 5. It will also provide for enhanced cooperation and interoperability as the U.S. and Europe work together on global challenges. Concrete U.S. steps to strengthen such cooperation will include deploying missile defense assets to Europe, enhancing special operations forces in the region, and sending an aviation detachment to Poland for training purposes.
In the last year alone, the United States and European partners have worked together on challenges from Libya to Afghanistan, and from Kosovo to the Horn of Africa. Diplomatically, the United States and Europe continue to cooperate on countering the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction and working to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The U.S. and Europe have been united in working to support economic and political transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, and to increase pressure on the Assad regime in Syria to meet its commitments to refrain from violence against its own people.
In May the transatlantic Alliance will take important steps forward in ensuring 21st Century security as President Obama hosts the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. At the Summit Allies will focus on three priorities, the first of which is ensuring continued progress on transition in Afghanistan and agreeing on a vision for NATO’s post-2014 role in Afghanistan.
The second Summit priority will be to ensure NATO has the full range of capabilities to ensure security in the 21st Century, even as Allies face difficult budgetary realities.
Finally, in Chicago NATO will continue efforts to strengthen relations with partners around the world. The recent success in Libya showed how Allies and non-NATO partners could effectively work together in an operation.
Working together, the United States and Europe will continue to ensure continued security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.