The United States Mission to NATO

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1st Cavalry Division in Europe

This fall, company-sized elements of Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, will arrive in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland to begin training exercises with those nations’ troops in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The 2-8 Cav units will replace the paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, who have, since April, been participating in multinational training with U.S. allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

These land training exercises, which came at the request of the host nations, help foster interoperability through small unit and leader training and demonstrate commitment to collective defense capabilities. Elements of the brigade have conducted training missions throughout the year in Europe.

Click here for information on Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Media wishing for more information, please contact the 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs Office at 254-287-9400.

Filed under military operationatlanticresolve army tanks europe

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Defense Capacity Building: Strengthening NATO Partnerships

At the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, leaders will determine how the 65- year-old alliance can leverage its Defense Capacity Building (DCB) capabilities to strengthen Partner nations. The United States is already an active participant in NATO defense capacity building projects in Afghanistan and Kosovo. With these present and future efforts, the United States and NATO reinforce national capacities to project stability and security around the world.

As NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a speech to the Atlantic Council in Brussels, this initiative enables Partners to “build up effective defense structures and forces of their own,” and allows NATO to “project stability without always deploying large numbers of our own troops.”  DCB provides NATO Allies and Partners with an effective and efficient way to pursue national interests, while playing a regional and global role in security. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan provided an “industrial-scale” example of DCB, according to Ambassador Lute, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO. Working together on NATO’s most ambitious and critical DCB project, Allies and Afghans stood up the 350,000-member strong Afghan National Security Force (ANSF). Allied troops continue to train and support Afghan forces at bases around Afghanistan as NATO transitions from a combat mission to a civilian mission to train, advise and support the ANSF. The ANSF have progressively taken the lead in maintaining Afghan security, and their professionalism, courage and military ability has earned the trust and confidence of the Afghan people.  Together, the ANSF, the United States and our Partners and Allies have ensured that Afghanistan will no longer be a safe haven for Al Qaeda.

DCB has also been a critical part of NATO’s operation in Kosovo. NATO supervised the creation of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), a small, multi-ethnic force with the responsibility for security tasks beyond the mandate of the police force. Although smaller than the ANSF with 2,500 active personnel, the KSF is an essential addition to Kosovo’s defense infrastructure, acting as a diverse force committed to safeguarding a population recently devastated by ethnic conflict.


Defense Capacity Building is a critical part of NATO’s Partnership policy.  The Berlin Partnership Policy, established in 2011, outlines NATO’s goal to pursue dialogue and practical cooperation with states from around the world.  Through a menu of partnership programs including training, educational courses, participation in military exercises, and advice on security sector reform.   

Ambassador Lute has described NATO partnerships as a “two-way street,” in which partners give NATO the diversity the Alliance needs while enhancing operations, adding critical capabilities, and promoting stabilizing reform.  Partners also benefit, receiving access to, as Ambassador Lute has said, “world-class training, exercises and education.” DCB has the potential to enhance regional stability by strengthening partners’ ability to defend against external threats while building credible, transparent, effective internal national security systems. Leaders and Ministers at the Wales Summit will discuss opportunities to strengthen and enhance this engagement with Partners.  By investing in its Partners’ capabilities, NATO will continue to grow to become, as Ambassador Lute calls it, “the hub of a global security network.”

Filed under NATO Partners NATOsummitUK

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Mediterranean Dialogue: Marking 20 Years

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Mediterranean Dialogue at NATO. Mediterranean Dialogue includes seven countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Since its creation in 1994, the Mediterranean Dialogue has maintained three primary objectives: to contribute to regional security and stability, to achieve better mutual understanding, and to dispel any misconceptions about NATO among Dialogue countries.

Partnerships like the Mediterranean Dialogue enable the Alliance and its partners to work together to promote the stability and security. Providing a broader perspective on regional dynamics, the Mediterranean Dialogue has collaborated with NATO on a wide range of issues, such as environmental security, terrorism, civil emergency planning, crisis management, and border security efforts. Providing concrete contributions to securing a stable environment in the region, Med Di nations have participated in several NATO operations, including Kosovo, Libya and Afghanistan.

For 20 years nations in the Mediterranean Dialogue have helped NATO spread stability, and develop a deeper understanding of the region. Working together to address the common security challenges we face today will help NATO be well-positioned to confront the challenges of the future.

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On 4 to 5 September 2014, Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the NATO summit.


On 4 to 5 September 2014, Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the NATO summit.

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USS Vella Gulf Arrives in Batumi, Georgia

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) arrived in Batumi, Georgia, for a scheduled port visit, Aug. 18.

While in Georgia, Vella Gulf is scheduled to participate in a joint training exercise with the Georgian Navy focusing on signaling and visit, board, search and seizure tactics. Vella Gulf will also host a reception onboard for Georgian dignitaries.

Vella Gulf’s mission in the Black Sea is to work with NATO allies and European partners, demonstrating the United States’ commitment to strengthening and improving interoperability while working toward mutual goals in the region.

In addition to experiencing Georgian culture, Vella Gulf sailors will also participate in a soccer match against the Georgian Coast Guard.

“Visiting Georgia is sure to be a rewarding experience for the entire crew,” said Capt. Robert D. Katz, commanding officer of Vella Gulf. “Vella Gulf is committed to regional stability and maritime security with our partners in the Black Sea. We are honored to host a reception, spend a day training together, and see the unique sights of Georgia.”

Upon departing Georgia, Vella Gulf will continue its deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Europe

Filed under Navy Georgia USA USNavy USSVellaGulf nato

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Mission Possible: Heavy Lift Air Wing Demonstrates Smart Defense

Tucked away in the farmlands of northwest Hungary is one the best examples of Smart Defense: three C-17 Globemaster III long-range military cargo jets owned by the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), a program created by a group of NATO Allies and Partners. By combining resources, 10 NATO members – The Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States; and two NATO Partnership for Peace nations – Finland and Sweden, purchased C-17s. Sharing human resources as well costs, the SAC nations contribute the airman of the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), which operates the aircraft out of Pápa Air base.

For their investment in dollars and personnel, the nations reap the benefits of allocated flight hours in support of SAC member nations’ national defense training, NATO, UN and EU commitments and humanitarian relief operations. Since 2009, the HAW has logged over 14,000  flight hours in over 1000 missions. Membership in SAC with access to these C17 operations remain open for other NATO or Partner nations who wish to join.

     The HAW marked a significant milestone in support U.S.-led Expanded Land Force training activities with Alliance members in early May. At the request from the United States, a HAW C-17 with an aircrew representing five SAC nations dropped paratroopers from Poland and the U.S.  Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) and delivered parachuted cargo to Latvia for the first time under simulated combat conditions, as part of an active multinational military exercise.

    Known for its versatility, the C-17 can carry 18 pallets or 160,000 pounds of cargo and push it out a back door spanning the entire length of flight deck. It can refuel in mid-air, and land on grass, mud and the shortest of runways. If space is a problem, the C-17 can back up to take-off again without having to turn around. A lot of bang for the buck, according to Brent Deen, Weapons Systems Manager for SAC, “You can do just about anything with this one bird – anytime, anywhere.”

    In addition to economies of scale that the SAC gives member nations, hosting the capability also pays dividends to the local community. In total the SAC program employs about 260 persons in Pápa, working in the Heavy Airlift Wing, NATO Airlift Management Program Office (NAM  PO) and Boeing. Adding the families, the SAC international community in Pápa consists of over 1,000 people living in the town of approximately 33,000 residents. In addition, Boeing, which operates the company’s only overseas maintenance hub for the C17 fleet, is well on its way to achieving its corporate goal of reaching 50 percent local hires.

    As the SAC/HAW marked its 5 year anniversary July 27, the ground was being prepared for the construction of a $46 million hangar, a cutting-edge capital improvement that will result in huge cost-savings for SAC, while benefitting Hungary’s economy and put Papa airbase on the map. Slated for completion by the end of 2015, the new hangar will be the first C-17 hangar in Europe and the only one of its kind in the world to combine the functions of three separate hangars into one: routine maintenance/washing; painting; and open fuel cell maintenance bay operations. 

    “Basing the C-17s at Papa gave Hungary a capability that has paid dividends,” Deen said. “We are opening up avenues of cooperation we didn’t know existed and there’s lots of potential still to be tapped.”



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    USNATO Ambassador’s op-ed in The Telegraph: Investing in NATO’s Collective Security & Common Defense


    Since 1949 NATO has been the Trans-Atlantic community’s answer to crises: the Cold War, the Balkans, and, most recently, Afghanistan. This September, NATO leaders will come together in Wales to ensure that the world’s strongest, most durable alliance continues to meet new challenges for the years to come.
    Throughout its 65 years, NATO allies have shared more than a deep and powerful history. We have been linked by a commitment to core values and a shared, fundamental belief in freedom, democracy, and lasting peace. When we act together, we are stronger, more effective, and better able to provide security for our citizens. Through NATO, we have built an Alliance that is on duty every day, trained, ready, and committed to defend our territories and to serve as an anchor for security beyond.
    The crisis in Ukraine provides sober evidence that we have not yet realised the goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace. In the five months since Russia illegally annexed and occupied the Crimea, we’ve seen the international community unite to support Ukraine politically and economically, and to impose costs on Russia. NATO has acted as one, with all 28 Allies contributing to prudent measures that demonstrate our commitment to mutual defense. Together we have renewed our resolve fully to integrate Allies into every aspect of Alliance operations and to strengthen cooperation with our more than 40 partners. The Trans-Atlantic relationship is as strong and relevant now as it was when the Alliance was created in 1949.
    We harbour no illusions about the challenges we face. The crisis in Ukraine poses a danger to stability in Europe, and Russia’s illegal actions change the strategic landscape. Our nations must recommit to investing in our common defense and to ensuring that NATO has the capabilities required – experienced troops, modern equipment, world-class training, regular operational exercises, and ongoing education. These elements of military capability depend on responsible levels of national defense spending.
    The United Kingdom has long demonstrated its enduring commitment to the Alliance with significant defense capabilities underpinned by sustained spending that meets the NATO pledge of two percent of GDP. Since 1949, the United Kingdom has been a leader within the most durable and effective military alliance in history. The United States joins with the UK and others to call on all 28 Allies to invest proportionately in defense to meet the challenges that lay ahead. As national economies recover from the worst recession in NATO’s history, each Ally must recommit to doing its part. Shared benefits mean shared responsibilities.
    We live in dangerous times. As we count down to the Wales Summit the first week in September, instability on NATO’s periphery in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as emerging threats from cyber attack and ballistic missiles, along with the crisis in Ukraine underscore the currency and criticality of NATO’s core mission of collective security.
    This year, NATO marks its 65th anniversary as the world’s gold standard of collective security. In those decades, while threats have changed over time, one simple truth has remained the same and underpinned NATO’s success: we are stronger when we act together as a force for peace and stability. NATO is the secure foundation that allows our economies to prosper and our citizens to be safe. As America looks to the future, our position is clear and our commitment is steadfast: NATO will remain the bedrock of security on both sides of the North Atlantic.

    This op-ed appeared in The Telegraph online on August 8, 2014. 

    Filed under NATO UK defense

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    U.S. Army paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and Canadian paratroopers form the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, learned how each service calls for artillery rounds during Operation Atlantic Resolve.

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    Strengthening Networks: NATO’s Cyber Defense

    "As NATO looks to the future, the Alliance must appropriately focus our limited resources on the capabilities really matter,” said Douglas Lute, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. “With our NATO Allies and over 40 NATO partners, the United States works to counter today’s threats, and remains poised to address emerging security challenges like cyber terrorism. Cyber defense–a challenge we didn’t have to worry about 20 years ago—is a critical international security challenge today.”


    On September 4 and 5, the Alliance’s Heads of State, Defense Ministers, and Foreign Ministers will come together at the Wales Summit to discuss amongst other topics, NATO capabilities – including cyber security.  NATO recognized the danger of evolving cyber threats in Summit Declarations of Chicago (2012) and Lisbon (2010) and pledged to work to improve NATO system safeguards. NATO has upgraded its ability to identify and defend internal Alliance systems against cyber intrusion and attack.


    Securing its own systems is only part of NATO’s efforts to protect the Alliance against cyber threats. NATO is developing best practices to help Allies safeguard their nations’ systems against cyber threats to critical infrastructure and address any weak links between national systems  Alliance networks. The Alliance’s ability to exchange expertise is critical to enhancing the security of all 28 Allies and maintaining NATO’s gold standard of interoperability.


    Leveraging expertise born of its painful national experience with cyber aggression, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia, has to become the foremost NATO-accredited research and training facility on the subject.  Ingvar Pärnamäe, Undersecretary for Defense Investments at the Estonian Ministry of Defense, underlined the importance of cyber defense: “Cyber defense and emerging security challenges have a very important political dimension for NATO requiring nations to work closely with each other better to build a stronger Alliance.” The center is supported by Estonia and 10 NATO Allies: Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States.


    The CCDCOE plays a key role in raising awareness of cyber threats, leading the way for NATO on cyber-related education, research, and information-sharing. The center’s main task is to enhance NATO’s collective cyber defense capability by allowing Allies to share experiences and best practices.  More specifically, the CCDCOE provides support to several exercises (i.e. Trident Jaguar), assists in digital forensics and monitoring, contributes to NATO in cyber defense education through courses and conferences, and assists in developing conceptual framework and implementation plans for cyber defense.


    As NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “We are all closely connected. So an attack on one Ally, if not dealt with quickly and effectively, can affect us all. Cyber-defense is only as effective as the weakest link in the chain. By working together, we strengthen the chain.”   At its best, NATO is an Alliance that is greater than the sum of its parts. By sharing information and conducting exercises with cyber components Allies learn how to deal with technological threats of today and tomorrow. 


    Filed under Cyberdefense cybersecurity estonia ccdcoe nato cyber natosummituk

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Second Lieutenant Luke Sheaf of the Royal Anglian Regiment gives a reading at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons in Belgium as part of the commemorative service last night marking the centenary of the start of the First World War. The cemetery is the final resting place for soldiers from both sides, close to where so many made the ultimate sacrifice. The event was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and the Prime Minister David Cameron.
[Photo by Eduoard Bocquet, NATO]


    Second Lieutenant Luke Sheaf of the Royal Anglian Regiment gives a reading at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons in Belgium as part of the commemorative service last night marking the centenary of the start of the First World War. The cemetery is the final resting place for soldiers from both sides, close to where so many made the ultimate sacrifice. The event was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and the Prime Minister David Cameron.

    [Photo by Eduoard Bocquet, NATO]