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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks at the 2024 NATO Summit Defense Ministerial Dinner

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Well, good evening, everybody. Thanks for being here. It's great to see so many colleagues here tonight. I really appreciate you – you joining us for dinner.

I told many of our colleagues that I – I cooked dinner tonight, but truth be known you probably already figured out that I didn't cook dinner.

But I would like to thank the staff that worked hard to put this together, this – this wonderful setting in -- in the National War College. A lot of work and a great performance. Let's give them a round of applause.

So we're here tonight and as both allies and friends — and we welcome new friends who are here for the first time.

And it's great to have members of Congress here as well. It's always good to see Chairman Reed. Chairman Reed is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has provided support, tremendous support, to all of our efforts.

We're especially grateful for the passage of the bipartisan supplemental which supports our security, our partners, and our commitment to a free Ukraine.

We can do a lot of things, but we can't do many things without money, so, all of the members of Congress who are here, who - who supported our – NATO and our efforts to – to support Ukraine, let's give them a round of applause.

This week we celebrate NATO's historic achievements as we deepen our bonds as allies.

So I am truly proud to welcome you to this university, which has produced so many of America's great military leaders, including my friend and mentor, Gen. Colin Powell. The hall where we'll all enjoy our dessert tonight was named after Colin Powell.

And Colin once said that “I came here to study war. And while I learned a lot about war, I learned even more about the importance of finding peace.”

And I hope that spirit will guide us at this historic summit. And I hope that together, we'll carry on the vital work of safeguarding freedom, defending democracy, and finding peace.

So friends, let's raise our glasses, please.

Thank you.

To the greatest defensive alliance in human history! And may NATO foster peace and security for another 75 years. To NATO!

GUESTS: (Responses to toast and clinking of glasses)

SEC. AUSTIN. OK, thanks everybody, and please enjoy your dinner.