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DOD Official Cites NATO's Contributions to World Peace, Security

Dec. 9, 2019 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The threat from Russia in its own backyard isn't NATO's only focus, a senior Defense Department official said, noting that the alliance also is globally focused.

Five-member panel is seated on a stage.
Defense Forum
John C. Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, participates in a panel discussion during the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, Calif., Dec. 7, 2019. From left are: Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist; Singaporean Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen; Rood; and moderator Fred Hiatt, Washington Post reporter.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 191207-D-UB488-024A

Speaking Dec. 7 at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, John C. Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, said that with its goal of preserving freedom and democracy, NATO has come to realize the economic, military and societal threat from China's authoritarian regime.

Two Marines kneel on a snowbank as a projectile emerges from a shoulder-launched weapon one of the Marines is firing.
Norway Ops
A Marine with Marine Rotational Force Europe 20.1, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, fires a shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon during a live-fire range in Setermoen, Norway, Nov. 6, 2019.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Hamilton
VIRIN: 191106-M-PH977-1175C

NATO nations see China as a shared security concern, Rood said, particularly with its Huawei 5G network, which could be used to collect information from the alliance and its partners.

Elsewhere, NATO troops are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, noting that some 8,700 non-U.S. NATO troops are training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces.

Soldiers participate in a NATO exercise.
Trident Juncture
Dutch troops practice movement operations during NATO’s Exercise Trident Juncture 2018 on Nov. 4, 2018. Trident Juncture 2018 is NATO’s largest exercise in many years, bringing together around 50,000 personnel from all 29 allies, plus partners Finland and Sweden. Around 65 vessels, 250 aircraft and 10,000 vehicles participated.
Photo By: Netherlands Defense Ministry photo by Hille Hillinga
VIRIN: 181104-F-ZZ999-014

Last year, NATO participated in Trident Juncture in Scandinavia, an exercise that involved more than 50,000 troops and "got Russia's attention," Rood said. Next year, he added, the alliance plans to participate in an exercise called Defender 2020. The United States is planning to send a full Army division to Europe for the exercise to show speed of assembly, speed of maneuver and the ability to mass forces where needed, Rood said.

Soldiers with weapons advance in snow.
Trident Juncture
Norwegian soldiers perform drills near Roros, Norway, during the Trident Juncture exercise, Oct. 26, 2018.
Photo By: NATO photo
VIRIN: 181026-F-ZZ999-193

NATO also is stepping up its military spending,the undersecretary noted. The alliance has increased defense spending by $130 billion over the last three years, he said, and NATO nations have pledged by 2024 to spend at least 2% of gross national product on defense, with 20% of that money earmarked for procurement of new capabilities.