Stavridis Links Security Capability, Economic Progress
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 Strong economies and strong security capability go hand in hand, fostered through close international, interagency and private-public cooperation, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis said after attending a global economic forum in Switzerland and en route to a global security conference in Germany.
Stavridis, supreme allied commander of Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, shared his impressions of this week’s 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, in his command blog. The annual gathering brought together more than 2,000 global leaders from economic, political, security, cultural, cyber, diplomatic and media sectors.
“To have a secure economy, we have to have a strong security capability -- and vice versa,” Stavridis said he emphasized during his interactions with world economic leaders as they attended sessions devoted to “resilient dynamism.”
Stavridis said he underscored the importance of watching upcoming global hotspots, devoting more attention to trafficking challenges and promoting the kind of cooperation that leads to security.
It’s a message the admiral said he will highlight again this weekend at the Munich Security Conference, which Vice President Joe Biden and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter also will attend.
“We need to watch the upcoming global hotspots like the Levant, the Sahel, Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran -- all worrisome but not acute,” Stavridis said. He cited progress in Afghanistan and diplomatic efforts under way in North Korea and Iran.
“Syria, of course, is the most tactically concerning, especially with many metric tons of chemical weapons in a chaotic situation,” he said.
Stavridis also recognized the need for more focus on narcotics and human trafficking and weapons smuggling. “The financial and human cost here is staggering and rising,” he said, expressing particular concern about poppy, opium and heroin from Afghanistan and its impact in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
The solution for addressing these and other challenges and creating security requires international, interagency and public-private cooperation, Stavridis said. He pointed to the examples of this cooperation: in Afghanistan, where nations have troops on the ground working together in the International Security Assistance Force; and through public-private cooperation that has reduced piracy by 70 percent since last year.
Stavridis also emphasized the role of strategic communication in advancing security.
“We must seize the narrative to tell the story of freedom and democracy as the Arab Spring unfolds,” he said.
He attended the economic forum after meetings with key officials at the Swiss defense and foreign affairs ministries. Stavridis said the talks included Switzerland’s troop contributions to the peacekeeping force in Kosovo, the situations in Mali and Syria, broader European defense and cooperation between Switzerland and NATO, going forward.