14 March 2017
It’s an honor to be here with our host your Commander of Defense Force General Riho Terras. We are good friends, we have developed a great friendship and relationship since I came into the job. Thank you for a great visit. We truly appreciate the strong Alliance between our countries and look forward to future opportunities.
My visit here continues to galvanize our commitment to security throughout the Baltic region. I’m proud to be part of the security and stability in this vital region. Our forces are present here to support a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.
It’s great to be here working with the highly capable and skilled Estonian military. I applaud the Estonian leadership on continuing to meet the 2% GDP defense goal. This is a powerful achievement for the security and stability of your country.
Thousands of joint U.S. service members will rotate through the Baltic region participating in exercises and training events to continue building close ties with our counterparts. We are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with our Allies to ensure the independence, sovereignty, and security of Estonia.
Estonia continues to be a fantastic host for bilateral and multilateral training and exercises. Through our joint air activities at Amari, naval exercises in the Baltic Sea and the persistent rotations of U.S. forces to Tapa since 2014, the United States and Estonia have increased interoperability, developed new capabilities, and created an effective deterrence to aggression.
To support Estonia and its neighboring countries in light of Russian aggression, the United States created Operation Atlantic Resolve to provide new rotational forces to the continent; improved infrastructure; enhanced prepositioning of U.S. equipment; and intensified efforts to build partner capacity in Europe
U.S. commitment remains strong in the Trans-Atlantic Alliance. My priority is to maintain ready and postured forces on land, in the air and at sea and U.S. Forces will bring the full weight of the U.S. Joint team with us.
NATO eFP and U.S. rotational forces are a response to Russian aggression in Crimea, Ukraine and their malign influence. As always we will watch this posture and exercises and take appropriate steps to deter and defend.
Our European Alliance is the bedrock of our success to deter potential adversaries, and respond in a timely manner should deterrence fail. So we stand with Estonia in supporting peace in the Baltics.
Again its great to be here. Thank you for all you do for this great partnership, and I’m ready to take some questions.