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U.S., Romania Chart 10-Year Road Map for Military Cooperation

Oct. 8, 2020 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper welcomed Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca to the Pentagon today with an enhanced honor cordon.

Two men wearing face masks bump elbows as service members wearing face masks stand behind them.
Elbow Bump
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper welcomes Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca to the Pentagon with an enhanced honor cordon, Oct. 8, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders
VIRIN: 201008-D-XI929-1010

The two defense leaders signed a 10-year road map for defense cooperation that captures the nations' common strategic goals and shared interests, such as defense modernization and Black Sea-area security.

A sailor rides in an inflatable boat looking out towards a ship.
Fast Transit
Navy Chief Petty Officer Michael McMurry assigned to the USS Carney participates in a visit, board, search and seizure drill in the Black Sea, July 4, 2019, during Sea Breeze, a multinational maritime security exercise.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Fred Gray IV
VIRIN: 190704-N-TI693-0107C

The United States is proud to stand with Romania as a steadfast ally, Esper said. Over the years, the bonds between the two nations have grown stronger.

For example, Romania has hosted a number of training exercises that improve interoperability and strengthen deterrence against Russia along NATO's eastern flank, he said.

The U.S. is also grateful for the strong commitment of the alliance, particularly in hosting the Aegis Ashore missile defense facility that is key to NATO's defense, the secretary said.

Furthermore, Romania increased defense spending in recent years to exceed the pledged 2% of its gross domestic product. That serves as a powerful example to other allied nations, he added.

Two men sit at a table across from one another.
Esper Meeting
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper meets with Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca at the Pentagon following an enhanced honor cordon, Oct. 8, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders
VIRIN: 201008-D-XI929-1028
A man signs a book as people wait in a hallway behind him.
Nicolae Ciuca
Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca signs the guest log at the Pentagon following an enhanced honor cordon, Oct. 8, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders
VIRIN: 201008-D-XI929-1022

"Our collective security and prosperity depend on all partner nations making the necessary investments for a more ready and capable alliance," Esper said. 

America's commitment to NATO and Article 5 is "ironclad and America stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Romania as we advance peace, democracy, freedom and our other shared values," he said.

Article 5 states that if a NATO ally is attacked, every other member of the alliance will consider this as an attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the ally attacked.

Two men stand in front of flags holding documents.
Leader Photo
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper (left) and Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca sign a Defense Cooperation Agreement in the Pentagon following an enhanced honor cordon, Oct. 8, 2020.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Taryn Escott
VIRIN: 201008-D-ZY556-1001M

Ciuca said: "The United States is our strongest ally. Romania's recent National Defense Strategy 2020-2024 highlights both the importance and the priority of working together in securing U.S. strategic flexibility in the Black Sea."

Romania is investing in modernizing Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, which is near the Black Sea, he pointed out.

Ciuca noted that two weeks ago, Romania took delivery of the Patriot surface-to-air missile system, becoming the first nation on NATO's eastern flank to field it.