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Gates Discusses Afghanistan, NATO Reform With Reporters

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2010 – After attending NATO defense ministerial meetings in Brussels, Belgium, today Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates discussed Afghanistan and NATO reform, among other topics, with reporters.

“Our last [ministerial] session focused on our most important mission: the international effort to stabilize Afghanistan and allow the Afghan people to control their own destiny for the first time in more than three decades, and ensure that it never again becomes a launching pad for international terrorism,” Gates said.

“Gen. [Stanley A.] McChrystal [commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan] told the ministers that he is confident that he will be able to show progress in the south [of Afghanistan] and across the country and that the strategy is working by the end of the year,” Gates added.

Gates went on to say that, “It has been clear for some time now that NATO has excess infrastructure and outdated command and headquarters structures that bear little resemblance to our real-world needs. … The measures we must take are not about cutting people and costs, per se; rather, they are about focusing on real reforms to achieve and create an effective and efficient alliance.”

“There is widespread agreement among [NATO defense] ministers that we must address our institutional problems, and address them soon,” Gates said. “The task before us now is to act, to summon the will and courage to make tough but necessary decisions. Doing so is critical for the long-term viability and credibility of NATO, and to the trans-Atlantic project writ large.”

NOTE: More coverage to come from American Forces Press Service.

 

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Robert M. Gates

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