Partnerships Vital To U.S. Military, Security Challenges In Europe
by Terri Moon Cronk, DOD News
April 25, 2021
U.S. partnerships and alliances are critical to
combatting unwelcome actions by adversaries, such as those stemming
from Russian aggression, two key defense officials told the House
Armed Services Committee.
The United States informed
the Russian government on April 15, 2021 of its intent to hold Russia accountable for
a pattern of malign behavior that includes efforts to influence the
outcome of the 2020 presidential election; the Russian Foreign
Intelligence Service's compromise of SolarWinds software; and the
main intelligence directorate's efforts to encourage attacks on U.S.
and coalition personnel in Afghanistan, Laura K. Cooper, deputy
assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia said.
"The president is taking hard-and-fast action with appropriately
tailored responses to provide a clear signal of our resolve without
escalation," she said.
before the committee with Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander
of the U.S. European Command, to discuss the national security
challenges and U.S. force posture in the U.S. European Command area
Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise conducted in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace within the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Rumple - December 5, 2017)
Russia's aggression in eastern Ukraine and its
pattern of destabilizing behaviors are examples of the increasingly
challenging international security situation, Cooper said.
"The United States is increasingly concerned about Russia's military
buildup of forces along Ukraine's border and in occupied Crimea,"
she told committee members. "Russia now has more troops on the
border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014." She added the
Defense Department will continue to support Ukraine's long-term
defense capacity and provide security assistance so the country can
more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression.
"To compete in this new landscape, [DOD] is heeding the call of the
interim national security strategic guidance and engaging our
transatlantic friends with renewed vigor, reclaiming our place in
international institutions, and revitalizing America's unmatched
network of allies and partners," Cooper said.
To meet the security challenges of the NATO
alliance, DOD will continue to work with allies to reinvigorate and
modernize the alliance's shared responsibilities and investments
equitably, increase allied speed of decision making, and improve
military mobility across Europe to improve collective readiness, she
Deterrence requires combat-credible, forward-deployed
conventional forces to bolster the alliance's deterrence and defense
posture to prevent Russian aggression, and Secretary of Defense
Lloyd J. Austin III is conducting a comprehensive DOD-wide global
posture review to best align U.S. overseas forces' presence with
presidential national security priorities, Cooper said.
"Our objective is to ensure our broad and
deep network of alliances and partnerships endures," she said. "The
United States must continue to take an active role in the region by
maintaining a ready and capable force, investing in NATO, and
promoting a network of like-minded allies and partners.
work closely with our allies and partners to address the evolving
challenges posed by our adversaries to secure peace and protect our
interest abroad," Wolters said.
NATO remains the strategic
center of gravity and the foundation of deterrence and assurance in
Europe, he said. "Everything we do is about generating peace: We
compete to win, we deter, and, if deterrence fails, we're prepared
to respond to aggression with the full weight of the transatlantic
The United States' relationship with European
allies and partners remains a key strategic advantage, and we must
defend it, Wolters said.
March 19, 2021 - Air Force Maj. Micah Yost, left, and Capt. Robert Strain, 351st Air Refueling Squadron, fly a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft during exercise Baltic Trident over the North Atlantic Ocean . Agile combat employment exercises enable the 100th Air Refueling Wing to become more agile and responsive to better support European partners and allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)
and 21st century warfare demands we embrace competition and all of
its associated activities below the level of armed conflict. This is
actually as critical as preparations for crisis or conflict
themselves. We're in an era of strategic competition, and winning in
this era is all about ensuring that strategic competition does not
morph into a global conflict," he said.
This summer, when
Eucom conducts its Defender-series exercises, allies and partners
from all warfare domains will demonstrate their ability to "lift and
shift" massive forces over large swaths of territory at speed and
scale for the eastern periphery of the European continent, Wolters
"Our current security posture is strong, yet challenged
as evidenced with respect to the activities in Ukraine," he said.
"We possess combat credible capability across all domains — air,
land, sea, space and cyber. We will maintain and work to hone this
capability to deter our adversaries."
Our Valiant Troops |
Citizens Like Us |