Partnerships

U.S., Canadian Leaders Strengthen Cross-Border Bonds

Dec. 14, 2018 | BY Jim Garamone

U.S. and Canadian officials met in Washington to strengthen the cross-border relationship and find new ways to work together.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis hosted Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and National Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan for what Pompeo called “a discussion among friends” at the State Department.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis stand and talk with their Canadian counterparts.
Bilat Chat
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo talks with Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan ahead of the U.S.-Canada 2+2 meeting at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 14, 2018.
Photo By: Michael Gross, State Department
VIRIN: 181214-S-ZZ999-221

The yearly “two-plus-two” meeting is a forum that allows the nations to bring up the full range of cooperation and issues from the economy, trade and security cooperation to foreign concerns and maintaining international order.

“On the bilateral front, we discussed our joint efforts to ensure North America is vigorously protected by both our militaries in close cooperation with one another,” Pompeo said.

Service members sit in front of computers in an operations center.
Side by Side
U.S. and Canadian airmen work side-by-side on the operations floor of the Western Air Defense Sector during a visit by Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington Aug. 23, 2018.
Photo By: Air Force Capt. Kimberly Burke
VIRIN: 180823-Z-QO338-0004
Troops work around sacks on a pier.
Contraband Unloading
Coast Guardsmen from the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team unload about 5,100 pounds of suspected cocaine from the Royal Canadian Navy’s coastal defense vessel HMCS Edmonton at Naval Base San Diego, Dec. 7th, 2018. The contraband was seized by Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy crews working together during counterdrug operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Photo By: Coast Guard Seaman Taylor Bacon
VIRIN: 181207-G-LB555-1263

The leaders discussed a number of global issues as well. “We talked about our work in collaboration as members of NATO,” he said. “We discussed our response to the situation in Ukraine. I expressed my concern over Russia’s recent aggression in the Sea of Azov where [Russian ships] rammed and opened fire on Ukrainian vessels.”

The leaders discussed joint efforts in Iraq and the need to maintain pressure on Iran to get that country to stop its malign influence in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Officials talk at a table.
Table Talk
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis co-host the U.S.-Canada 2+2 meeting with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 14, 2018.
Photo By: Michael Gross, State Department
VIRIN: 181214-S-ZZ999-330

Pompeo took the opportunity to thank Canadian leaders for their help in working to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Familial Kinship

Mattis said he and Sajjan continued a conversation started eight days ago in Ottawa, where the defense secretary attended a meeting to discuss efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“Today’s meeting signals how our two militaries work to stay closely aligned on a range of issues worldwide,” he said. “For Americans feel an enduring, almost familial kinship with Canada. In my case, it is familial. My mother’s family immigrated to America after my grandfather was wounded in action in World War I in the Canadian infantry.”

Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis stand for a photo.
Photo Op
From left, Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis pose for a photo ahead of the U.S.-Canada 2+2 meeting at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 14, 2018.
Photo By: Michael Gross, State Department
VIRIN: 181214-S-ZZ999-331

The secretary traced the military aspect of the alliance from the trenches of Flanders and the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of Afghanistan. “Today, we continue our cooperation in pursuit of our mutual security,” he said.

The United States and Canada are members of a unique military command – the North American Aerospace Defense Command. “We are united in NORAD, where Canadian and U.S. fighters together guard the skies above North America and our 360 million people,” he said.

NATO

“We are united in NATO, where we uphold trans-Atlantic unity and stand with European allies against the full scope of Russian malign influence, to include Moscow’s recent, brazen contempt of international law in the Kerch Strait and action against the Ukrainian people,” Mattis said. “Canadian and U.S. trainers in western Ukraine, and our battalions in the Baltics, represent our combined efforts to build stability and deter further provocative activity.”

A soldier adjust controls in a helicopter cockpit as others watch.
Blackhawk Controls
A U.S. soldier assigned to the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, explains the controls of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to Canadian airmen at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base, Romania, Oct. 15th, 2018. U.S. and Canadian military firefighters are stationed together at the base in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Photo By: Army Spc. Deomontez Duncan
VIRIN: 181015-A-PL947-003

On the military side, the two nations looked to enhance cooperation in a number of areas from foreign military sales to sanctions coordination.

“Regarding the Middle East, we affirmed the need to continue the fight against ISIS’s hardened core and to maintain support to our partners in Iraq, an approach endorsed as well by the 16 nations we met with last week in Ottawa,” he said. “Accordingly, we are evolving our defeat-ISIS coalition because we must not fall into complacency, recognizing ISIS remains a strong terrorist enemy as it adapts to the crushing loss of its physical caliphate.”