Panetta Hosts First Official U.S.-Netherlands Defense Meeting

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2012 — Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta host­ed a Pen­ta­gon hon­or cor­don today for his coun­ter­part from the Nether­lands dur­ing the two lead­ers’ first offi­cial bilat­er­al meet­ing.

The sec­re­tary and Dutch Min­is­ter of Defense Hans Hillen dis­cussed the new U.S. defense strate­gic guid­ance, bilat­er­al defense coop­er­a­tion issues, and ongo­ing oper­a­tions and plans for tran­si­tion in Afghanistan, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kir­by said. 

The Nether­lands has con­tributed troops to the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan since 2003. Cur­rent­ly, 183 Dutch troops are deployed to Region­al Com­mand South and the cap­i­tal region, accord­ing to ISAF officials.

Panet­ta and Hillen also dis­cussed U.S. force pos­ture in Europe, the upcom­ing NATO defense min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ings to be held in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary in Brus­sels, and the NATO 2012 Sum­mit sched­uled for May in Chica­go, Kir­by said.

While dis­cussing NATO issues, the spokesman added, Panet­ta rec­og­nized and praised the Nether­lands’ “tra­di­tion­al­ly strong voice and lead­er­ship in the NATO alliance.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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