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Immediate Release

Readout of Under Secretary of Defense Dr. William LaPlante's Visit to Brussels, Belgium

Department of Defense Spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen provided the following readout:

Under Secretary of Defense of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. William LaPlante traveled to Brussels, Belgium on May 28, 2024 to conduct multiple engagements with European Union officials and lead the United States delegation to the Schuman Security and Defence Forum.

Focused on strengthening transatlantic partnership in defense production and procurement matters, during the trip Dr. LaPlante met with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Mark Gitenstein; Chief Executive of the European Defense Agency, Jiří Šedivý; and Deputy Secretary General for Peace, Security, and Defence within the European External Action Service, Charles Fries. 

"I applaud the EU on the publication of their European Defense Industrial Strategy earlier this year, a strong recognition of the importance of the global industrial base that complements our U.S. National Defense Industrial Strategy," LaPlante said. "As worldwide demand exceeds current capacity, we all play a role in meeting immediate and future requirements, and we must continue expanding collaboration on both sides of the Atlantic to fortify our collective arsenal of democracy."

In addition to updates on U.S. and European security assistance deliveries to Ukraine, Dr. LaPlante highlighted focus on increasing bilateral and multinational co-development, co-production, and co-sustainment to strengthen industrial base resilience, enable economies of scale, and deliver capability more rapidly. He emphasized that any effort that expands global production capacity is a win for allies and partners, while stressing the importance of executing consistent, sustained orders against that expanded capacity. 

Discussion also addressed opportunities for promoting greater NATO-EU collaboration, increasing standardization and interchangeability of systems, and fostering indigenous defense production within Ukraine.