Secretary General in Florida: NATO makes the United States stronger and more secure

  • 01 Feb. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 01 Feb. 2024 21:04

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg concluded his trip to the United States on Thursday (1 February 2024) with a visit to the headquarters of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, Florida. Addressing troops, Mr Stoltenberg underscored that in a changing world with serious challenges, NATO Allies stand united “around our core cause to protect and defend each other.”

Remarks to the troops by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the headquarters of the US Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida

The Secretary General commended the troops for their service, noting that Special Operations Forces “are vital to any military operation. And therefore, so important for the whole NATO Alliance.” He also paid tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty. 

Mr Stoltenberg highlighted that Allies’ increased defence spending will not only result in boosting national capabilities, but will also facilitate more cooperation in NATO. Pointing to the increasingly global nature of security threats and challenges, the Secretary General stressed “NATO is responding because we need to do that together.” He underlined that together, NATO Allies make up half the world’s economic and military might, adding: “NATO is a good deal for all Allies… NATO is a good deal for the United States.”

The visit to SOCOM wraps up a week of engagements in the U.S. by Mr Stoltenberg.

On Wednesday, at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, Alabama, the Secretary General emphasised NATO’s crucial role in creating a vast market for defence sales and production. Earlier that day at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C, he outlined that NATO Allies must ensure robust deterrence, prepare for enduring competition with China, and invest more in defence to keep societies safe and free. 

On Tuesday, Mr Stoltenberg met with US Congressional leaders and highlighted that a strong NATO is in the strategic interest of the United States, and support for Ukraine remains decisive for Ukraine’s survival and Europe’s stability. “Through NATO, the U.S.has more friends and allies than any other power,” he said.

On Monday, the Secretary General had discussions with senior U.S. officials, and at a press conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he stressed that “for a tiny fraction of annual defence spending, the United States has helped Ukraine destroy a major part of Russia’s combat capacity, without placing a single American soldier in harm’s way.”  He also met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to discuss continuing the strong support for Ukraine, as well as preparations for NATO’s Summit in Washington this July.