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Remarks: Central Europe defense conference aligns Allies, strengthens relationships
U.S. European Command
June 11, 2024 | 3:08
Remarks by: U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe

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“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. General Kundid, thank you of course my friend for this introduction, and thank you for your team’s hard work organizing this event. It’s absolutely splendid to be here in Split, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the world, and we thank Croatia for your hospitality and for the professionalism with which your armed forces have organized this excellent event. So thank you.

Thank you also to Croatia for your strong leadership, and your example inside our Alliance. Your support for Ukraine is matched only by the speed and scope of your own modernization. We are grateful for both.

First, I’d like to recognize the distinguished leaders attending from 10 Central European nations. Given today’s environment, it‘s more important than ever that we all meet regularly to strengthen our cooperation. Venues like this one provide a forum to share ideas and to continue our strategic dialogue which is always aimed toward a free and prosperous Europe.

I’d also like to recognize the adjutant generals and senior enlisted leaders from U.S. National Guard organizations who are attending today. We thank these leaders for the United States’ State Partnership Program which pairs a U.S. state’s National Guard with a nation’s armed forces to create not just military-to-military, but also people-to-people context that endure for years and years. In this case, 30 years. It’s a remarkable program. We thank them for this State Partnership Program and the enduring relationships formed between our nations are a vital part of European security.

Now, European security is important today. Russia’s brutal, unprovoked, illegal invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed our security landscape. NATO’s response has been historic. We have increased defense spending. We have increased our force posture. And we have begun the wholesale reorganization of our Alliance to bring it from focusing on out-of-area operations now to focus on collective territorial defense. This important transition will secure the nations of our Alliance now and into the future.

It is a great privilege to be here to discuss that transformation with my fellow general officers today, and it’s always a splendid opportunity to be in Croatia on your beautiful Adriatic Coast.”
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