Excerpts of the Remarks of Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Munich Security Conference

Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis

Munich Security Conference
Munich, Germany, February 17, 2017


As guardians for our nations and sentinels alert to new threats, we all see our community of nations under threat on multiple fronts as the arc of instability builds on NATO’s periphery and beyond. Unified by these growing threats to our democracies, we possess strong resolve to adapt the Alliance. But now comes the hard part: as prudence dictates, we must move forward together, reinforcing deterrence and defense, and more directly addressing terrorist threats along NATO’s southern flank, from the Mediterranean to Turkey’s border.


We are engaged as we speak to ensure the Alliance is relevant and fit for its time. The United States is moving units into the Baltic States, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria under Operation Atlantic Resolve. And we join the UK, Germany, and Canada, nations leading our combined Forward Presence forces in Poland and the Baltic States, a wholly defensive deployment to maintain deterrence.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the transatlantic bond remains our strongest bulwark against instability and violence. NATO exists to protect our way of life, to include the free exchange of ideas that characterizes this annual conference in one of the world’s great cities. Here I am confident that we will strengthen our partnerships, confronting those who choose to attack innocent people or our democratic processes and freedoms.

Photo : AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite