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NATO Summit in Chicago

Assistant Secretary Gordon (Mar. 19): "President Obama will be very proud to host the next NATO summit in Chicago in May. It's not only a symbolic gesture of support for this alliance and how it's central to the United States, but there's real business to get done primarily in implementing some of things that were agreed at the Lisbon Summit in 2010. We expect to be able to announce an interim operating capability for missile defense, which was an initiative by President Obama in 2009. It will be up and running. We will make a big focus on partnerships and try to highlight the way in which NATO is now operating globally with partners from all around the world, from Sweden to Australia to countries in the Arab world, and of course the key focus will be on Afghanistan. We made a commitment in Lisbon, in together, out together, help the Afghans transition to a lead role in their security after 2014, we're on track for that and Chicago will be the place to decide how to implement those commitments."

NATO: A "Smart Defense" Investment

Assistant Secretary Gordon (Mar. 19): "We continue to underscore how important it is for NATO allies to maintain adequate defense spending. Look, we all know everybody is tightening their belt. The financial challenges that Europe faces are severe, as have been those faced by the United States, and we're doing some significant defense cuts as well. So nobody doubts that there are fewer defense dollars and euros then we might like. But we constantly remind our allies that there are also a lot of challenges out there, and we need their support and resources. And so, we are very proud of what we are able to accomplish as the alliance in Libya, but we need to keep in mind that if we don't maintain the investment that made those capabilities necessary, we wouldn't be able to do that in years to come. So we need to maintain adequate defense spending. We also need to think about how to spend smarter, and that's why one of President Obama's main areas of focus for the Chicago Summit will be "smart defense" and how we can pool our resources and do things more efficiently."

Enduring American Commitment to Europe

Assistant Secretary Gordon (Mar. 19): "No, people shouldn't see a focus on the Asia-Pacific or the Middle East as a net loss for Europe, for a lot of reasons. One is Europeans have an interest in stability in Asia, keeping sea lanes open, in trade, and in the Middle East which is closer to Europe than it is to The United States. People shouldn't misunderstand the notion of a pivot, if there's a pivot out there, it's pivoting from the wars we've been fighting in southwest Asia, in Iraq and Afghanistan, where for nearly a decade we've been spending hundreds of billions of dollars and have deployed hundreds of thousands of troops, which won't be necessary anymore with the wind down in Iraq, and in the coming years in Afghanistan. And with some of those resources we'll be pivoting to Asia. But the commitment to Europe and European security remains very strong. The commitment to article five as manifested in our continuing troop presence, we continue to have more troops deployed in Europe than anywhere else in the world, even after the defense review is implemented. And we've been doing new things, not least missile defense, the European phased adaptive approach which will have deployments of American facilities and people in Poland and Romania, we've got a radar in Turkey, Aegis ships in Spain, so you put all that together and I think you see an enduring American commitment that is actually adapting to the new challenges that we face."

U.S. Is Committed to European Missile Defense

Assistant Secretary Gordon (Mar. 19): "We've been very clear about the need to proceed with European missile defense, there's a growing potential threat from nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and we are determined to develop and deploy the capability to protect our troops, our populations from that threat in European territories, that's clear. We would like to do that cooperatively with Russia. We have put a number of ideas on the table about how we can work with Russia on this, it's not targeted at Russia, it's targeted at threats that emanate from beyond Europe. So we continue to work and talk, work with and talk to our Russian partners to find a way forward, understanding that the basic commitment to go ahead and deploy the missile defense system is there."