Panetta, MacKay Note Strength of U.S-Canada Partnership
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2011 Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay emerged from their first bilateral meeting today touting the countries’ long partnership and vowing to work more closely in their own hemisphere.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, right, and Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay speak with reporters outside the Pentagon, Sept. 30, 2011. The two defense leaders met earlier to discuss a broad range of bilateral security issues. DOD photo by R.D. Ward
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“We are neighbors, but we’re also friends and allies, and we are partners, and that’s true in a number of areas,” Panetta said.
The Canadian military is doing “tremendous work” in Afghanistan, particularly in Kandahar province, and have lost more service members in Afghanistan operations than most partner nations, Panetta said.
The U.S. and Canadian militaries also showed a “really effective use of partnership” in the NATO operation in Libya, the secretary noted. That partnership and support, the leaders said, is important as both face potentially large cuts to their military budgets.
Calling the U.S.-Canadian relationship “the gold standard,” and “the best on the planet,” MacKay said the relationship is important not just in defense, but also for the economies, trade, and operations around the world.
Panetta and MacKay, who have an upcoming meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said they hope to expand their partnership and those with other nations to more closely work on threats to North America, including terrorism, drugs trafficking, and natural disaster response.
“If we can develop better capabilities and partnerships throughout the hemisphere, that is something we both believe would be a real step forward,” Panetta said.