Partnerships

Greek, U.S. Defense Leaders Meet at Pentagon

June 7, 2019

Mutual security concerns were on the agenda for a meeting between the top defense leaders of the United States and Greece.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan met with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis today at the Pentagon to reaffirm the defense relationship between the two nations.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and a Greek leader look out from a stairway at the entrance to a building as service members stand at attention.
Greece Meeting
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan stands with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis during an honor cordon welcoming him to the Pentagon, June 7, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190607-D-SV709-0090E

The leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues, including regional security in the Balkans and Black Sea, and the regional effects of great power competition with Russia and China. They agreed to continue working together on NATO burden-sharing and defense modernization priorities, Pentagon officials said.

Shanahan applauded efforts by Greece and North Macedonia to implement the Prespa agreement, which will ultimately result in the expansion of the NATO alliance.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and another man exit through doors at the Pentagon.
Pentagon Visit
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan walks with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis during a visit at the Pentagon, June 7, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
VIRIN: 190607-D-SV709-0227S

The U.S. military-to-military relationship with Greece — a nation considered the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western civilization — continues to be among the strongest in Southeast Europe. Here's why:

1
Greece is a key NATO ally, strategically located near the Black Sea, North Africa, Middle East and Western Balkans.
Two aircraft sit on the deck of a ship.
Kearsarge Harriers
Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers sit chained to the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge as it departs Souda Bay, Greece, Jan. 10, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Mike DiMestico
VIRIN: 190110-N-UP035-0083
2
The presence of about 650 forces at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay is the cornerstone of the U.S.-Greece bilateral relationship. Souda Bay is an air and sea logistics hub and the largest deep-water port in the Mediterranean.
Service members render salutes while in formation on the deck of a ship.
Chiefs' Salute
Chief petty officers salute the American flag aboard the USS Ross at Rhodes, Greece, April 1, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Krystina Coffey
VIRIN: 190401-N-QR145-009
3
The United States and Greece have a robust military-to-military relationship; the two nations' armed forces regularly conduct joint and multinational exercises and training together.
Service members with parachute bags on their laps sit against a wall onboard an aircraft.
Paratrooper Wait
Hellenic army paratroopers sit aboard an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules during Exercise Stolen Cerberus VI at Elefsis Air Base, Greece, May 19, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Milton Hamilton
VIRIN: 190509-F-VQ832-1075E
4
At NATO, Greece is one of the few allies that has exceeded 2% of its gross domestic product on defense spending. Greece also contributes to coalition efforts, most notably to the NATO Kosovo Force.
A service member with a rifle squats in the snow as other personnel exit a helicopter.
Snow Squat
Marines search for and recover a simulated isolated person for a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel mission during Exercise Alexander the Great in Volos, Greece, Jan. 7, 2019.
Photo By: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa
VIRIN: 190107-M-QT322-0199E
5
Greece is a major foreign military sales customer for the U.S., with around $10 billion in current purchase commitments. Greece signed a $1.5 billion deal in 2018 to upgrade its fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.
Military jets sitting on the tarmac are silhouetted against orange clouds of dawn.
Fighter Jet Silhouettes
F-16 Fighting Falcons, assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, sit on the flight line before morning training sorties at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 30, 2019.
Photo By: Senior Airman Hope Geiger
VIRIN: 190130-Z-TW681-0053