This week Secretary of Defense James Mattis embarked on a trip to Europe to re-affirm key partnerships and alliances in Europe. Among the countries on the agenda are Italy, Belgium, Brussels, and Germany.
Reaffirming Partnership with Italy
On Monday, Mattis conducted bilateral meetings with Roberta Pinotti, Italian Minister of Defense. The talks continued into Tuesday with other senior officials. Among the discussion items were the issues of continuing bilateral cooperation through Nato, and to discuss ongoing operations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa, as well as building a more lethal force, strengthening alliances among partners, and attracting new partners.
Mattis also praised Italy’s contributions to coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the nation contributes the second largest contingency of troops after the U.S. According to an official from the Department of Defense, Mattis noted the “significant role Italian Carabinieri national police and military are undertaking to train host-nation security forces.”
The other agenda item included Italy’s support in addressing security concerns in southern Europe, along the Mediterranean coast, including deepening cooperation to address North Africa and the stabilization of Libya.
Mattis also applauded Italy for hosting the regiment of 30,000 US military service members and civilians based on Italian soil.
Headlining Further Talks in Europe
Later this week Mattis will be travelling to Stuttgart, Germany to visit US European Command (EUROCOM) and Africa Command (AFRICOM) leadership and troops.
Following this visit Mattis will participate in the 54th Munich Security Conference to discuss current crises and future challenges in European security policy.
Strategic Importance of NATO
NATO Cooperation is a key part of the Trump administration’s 2018 national defense strategy, specifically to bolster forces in the war on terror.
Last week support from NATO to expel Turkey from the organization began to grow given Turkey’s recent incursions in Kurdistan, as well as a move toward authoritarianism by Turkish leader Recep Tayip Erdogan.
The latest security summit is expected to continue the discussion regarding Turkey as well as reaffirm key security objectives for NATO allies.