Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti received the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Military Leader Award during a ceremony here last night.
The Atlantic Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan Washington-based “think tank” that specializes in international affairs.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, introduced Scaparrotti at the black-tie event.
Scaparrotti has commanded in “every clime and place” from West Germany during the Cold War to Zaire, from Liberia to Bosnia, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dunford said.
Eucom’s, NATO’s ‘Inspiring Men, Women’
Accepting the award, Scaparrotti saluted “the inspiring men and women of NATO and the United States European Command.”
“As we gather this evening,” he continued, “tens of thousands of NATO service members from all 29 allied nations are deployed around the world conducting operations, missions and training exercises in the Arctic, in the high north and in Afghanistan. [They are] along the eastern alliance border in multinational battle groups from Estonia to Romania, and in naval task forces tonight in the North Atlantic, in the Baltic and Black seas and in the Mediterranean. And they are over the skies of Europe providing air surveillance.”
By their actions, the men and women of NATO demonstrate the alliance’s resolve and its ability to change and remain relevant in a complex environment by their actions, Scaparrotti said.
Eucom has almost 60,000 service members and DoD civilians forward-deployed defending the nation’s interests in Europe and the broader Euro-Atlantic region, the general said.
“Eucom forces support NATO, they deter Russia, they defend Israel, [deter] counter transnational threats and enable operations around the world,” Scaparrotti said. “Every day, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians demonstrate their commitment to professionalism and excellence in their duties. I’m proud of all they have accomplished and all they will continue to do for our country.”
A strong and free Europe, bound by shared principles of democracy, national sovereignty and a commitment to mutual defense is vital to American national security, the general said, adding that Europe is a cornerstone of the U.S. National Defense Strategy.
The general wants the governments of the alliance and like-minded nations to communicate the narrative of freedom, democracy and rule of law. “We must affirm the importance of our alliances and partnerships which remain the backbone of our global security,” he said.
“To those who doubt our resilience, I would remind them that almost 70 years ago, 12 nations came together here in Washington to sign their names to a treaty stating they were determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples,” Scaparrotti said.
That treaty, he said, formed the NATO military alliance and that pact has been tested over the years.
“But the U.S., our allies and our partners have met every test with unity and resolve,” Scaparotti said. “Today, as we face this dynamic and complex security environment, we must maintain our resolve to obtain the defense posture we need, to continue to adapt to preserve the unity of the alliance and to strengthen the international order we have created. And I am confident that we will do so.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)