Defense leaders from 10 northern European allies and the head of US European Command met this week at a conference in Latvia to facilitate bilateral defense communication and cooperation. “We discussed the security situation here in Europe. We had candid and very productive discussions regarding the concerns and challenges we continue to face here in Europe, and we discussed how we can both strengthen the alliance and our cooperation between our militaries,” Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said in a written release. Breedlove updated US allies on the future Army presence and US commitment to Europe, saying the “persistent, heel-to-toe presence” of an armored brigade combat team “is designed to reassure our allies and partners, to deter our potential adversaries, and to help ensure that we are prepared to fight and win if we have to.” Leaders from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden participated in the defense conference. (Read the transcript of Breedlove’s remarks.)
Americans’ trust and confidence in the U.S. military has declined precipitously in recent months, according to the results of a survey. Experts lay the blame on increasing political polarization and the fallout from this summer’s turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan.