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Immediate Release

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks Meets With U.S. European Command and Africa Command Leaders in Germany

May 25, 2022

Department of Defense Spokesperson Army Lt. Col. Martin Meiners provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks visited Germany on May 24-25, 2022 to meet with U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) Commander Air Force General Tod Wolters and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Commander Army General Stephen Townsend.

During her meeting with Gen. Wolters, the two discussed Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated, and brutal invasion of Ukraine and U.S. and NATO support for the people of Ukraine. Dr. Hicks sought feedback on the challenges and successes USEUCOM has experienced while coordinating continued security assistance to Ukraine, bolstering NATO’s eastern flank to reassure Allies, and managing the risks of escalation with Russia. She also sought Wolters’ insights on Ukraine’s evolving security assistance requirements. 

At USEUCOM, Dr. Hicks received an update on the command’s efforts to implement the Deputy’s Artificial Intelligence and Data Accelerator (ADA) Initiative, incorporating data analytics and decision support tools. Both leaders discussed the critical importance of integrating information so military leaders can see, understand, and act with the best knowledge available. 

Dr. Hicks also visited the U.K.-led International Donor Coordination Cell, which is responsible for coordinating security assistance from the U.S. and a coalition of Allies and partners around the world for delivery into Ukraine. 

In Stuttgart, Deputy Secretary Hicks also met with USAFRICOM Commander Army General Stephen Townsend and other senior leaders. Gen. Townsend briefed the Deputy Secretary on the USAFRICOM strategy for addressing threats emanating from Somalia and Sahel West Africa as well as efforts to counter Chinese and Russian malign influence in the region.

The two leaders also discussed USAFRICOM plans to support National Defense Strategy priorities and strong U.S. partnerships and promising opportunities across the African continent. They also exchanged thoughts on the impacts on Africa from Russia’s irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in Ukraine.

Townsend noted the significance of the Deputy Secretary’s visit occurring on May 25, as the DOD and AFRICOM celebrate Africa Day, which marks the creation of the Organization for African Unity, that later evolved into the African Union. He also highlighted numerous future partner military exercises, such as Exercise Phoenix Express, a large maritime exercises with a number of African partners cooperating on freedom of navigation and maritime safety, maritime domain awareness, maritime security in the Mediterranean.