Partnerships

Greek Defense Minister Visits Mattis

Oct. 10, 2018 | BY Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis welcomed Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos to the Pentagon yesterday.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said Mattis reaffirmed the long-standing defense relationship between the U.S. and Greece and thanked Kammenos for his country’s commitment to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense well before the 2024 deadline agreed upon at NATO’s 2014 summit in Wales.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with the Greek defense minister.
Mattis Meeting
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos at the Pentagon, Oct. 9, 2018.
Photo By: Amber I. Smith
VIRIN: 181009-D-SV709-0151

After World War II, the United States contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Greece’s buildings, agriculture and industry as part of the Marshall Plan. Today, about 3 million Americans claim Greek descent. This large, well-organized community cultivates close political and cultural ties with Greece, Pentagon officials said.

Defense leaders meet at a table at the Pentagon.
Defense Meeting
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos at the Pentagon, Oct. 9, 2018.
Photo By: Amber I. Smith
VIRIN: 181009-D-SV709-0142A

During yesterday’s meeting, the two leaders also discussed continuing efforts to combat Russian malign influence in the region, including the recent expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Greece. Combating Russian efforts to undermine critical partnerships remains a key concern for all NATO allies, defense officials said.

U.S. and Greek defense leaders stand at attention at the top of the Pentagon steps.
At Attention
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos salute during the playing of the national anthem during a full honor cordon at the Pentagon, Oct. 8, 2018.
Photo By: Joseph Lawson
VIRIN: 181009-A-PS816-021B

Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952, at a time when there was fear of communist expansion throughout Europe and extending security to southeastern Europe was strategically important. This enabled NATO to reinforce its southern flank. The U.S. operates an air and sea logistics hub and the largest deep-water port in the Mediterranean at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete.



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