February 14, 2019

In NATO debut, acting Pentagon chief promises unity to skeptical Europe

Featuring Jim Townsend

Source: The Washington Post

Journalists Missy Ryan, Michael Birnbaum

In his NATO debut this week, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan sought to reassure skeptical U.S. allies about transatlantic strains over defense spending, arms control and Afghanistan.

Appearing at his first meeting of NATO defense ministers since becoming Pentagon chief at the beginning of the year, the former Boeing executive delivered a message of unity but also gently pressed partners to increase contributions to the alliance and think more creatively about new threats.

Underlying the scripted interactions at NATO headquarters in Brussels was a central question for nations unnerved by the departure of his predecessor, Jim Mattis, a widely respected retired Marine general who quit in December: Can anyone, especially someone with limited defense experience who’s auditioning for a job, steer President Trump away from damaging decisions?

Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.

  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...