Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said in the Netherlands last week that he views “the strength of the United States as being the network of allies and partners that we have.”
Since the end of World War II, the United States has built an unrivalled network of allies and partners. While NATO is the centerpiece of this effort, the U.S. has allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East.
Dunford attended NATO’s Military Committee Meeting in Brussels last week, where he continued American outreach. All 29 NATO chiefs of defense attended the meeting, which sets the stage for decisions by political leaders. Between sessions, the chairman met with several of his counterparts, including British Army Gen. Nicholas Carter and French Army Gen. Francois Lecointre.
U.S. and British service members serve together at all levels, from tactical units to senior staffs. The British are key members of the coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, form a large part of the training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and are part of the NATO assurance mission in the Baltic republics and Poland.
France has taken a leading role in Africa, working closely with American forces in Niger and Djibouti. It has a large role in the coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and is active in the NATO missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s chief of defense, army Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat, briefed the NATO chiefs on the situation in South Asia. Dunford also met with Hayat one-on-one. Pakistan is a crucial country in South Asia and events in Afghanistan are often influenced by what happens in Pakistan.
The chairman also spoke with his Turkish counterpart, Army Gen. Yasar Guler, about shared concerns regarding the security situation in Syria, said the chairman’s spokesman, Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder. “The two generals also discussed the importance of continued U.S.-Turkish cooperation on counterterrorism efforts to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS.”
Finally, Dunford traveled to The Hague, Netherlands, to meet with his Dutch counterpart, navy Adm. Rob Bauer, to thank him for the Netherlands’ contributions to NATO and other crucial missions. Dutch troops serve in the train, advise and assist missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dunford also regularly meets with his international counterparts at the Pentagon.
Before the meetings last week, the chairman met with his counterparts from Indonesia, Estonia, Poland, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Israel. He met with representatives of more than 70 nations during the October meeting of the coalition to defeat ISIS. Since becoming chairman, Dunford has also met three times with his Russian counterpart and visited China to meet with People’s Liberation Army representatives.