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GARMISH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany - The George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies hosted military leaders and senior enlisted personnel from U.S. and NATO partner nations at U.S. European Command's second European Security Summit, July 22-23.  In a taped message to participats, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey said the purpose of the seminar is intended to renew relationships and exchange views about security challenges in Europe. During the seminar, participants discussed the various challenges facing Europe's north, east and southern flanks and ways partner nations could address them while strengthening NATO/EU partnerships. (George C Marshall Center Photo by Karlheinz Wedhorn /Released)

By James E. Brooks
George C. Marshall Center Public Affairs Director

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies hosted military officers and senior enlisted personnel from the U.S. and NATO nations at U.S. European Command’s second European Security Seminar, July 22-23.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey, the overall sponsor for the security seminar, explained to the attendees the importance of bringing together participants at the Marshall Center.

“This seminar is intended to renew relationships and exchange views.  It’s also an opportunity to strengthen ties with our state partnership countries,” Dempsey said in a recorded message. 

Dempsey outlined the challenges that threaten European stability and security.  In the east, Russian aggression in Ukraine continues to be a focus for NATO.  On Europe’s southern flank, the flow of fighters returning from combat in Syria; economic and political refugees; and unchecked trafficking of illicit goods and humans across the Mediterranean Sea from West Africa are continuing challenges.  Finally on Europe’s northern flank, the peaceful opening of the Arctic and continued Russian interest and influence in that region bears watching, he said.

“We have a big opportunity in front of us,” said U.S. European Commander (EUCOM) Air Force General Phillip Breedlove to the participants during his opening remarks.  He underscored the importance of relationship building and strengthening during the seminar.  “I still call people I went to school with back in 1990 to fix things.”

During the European Security Summit, participants listened to and discussed the challenges facing Europe from three directions in seminar sessions and panel discussions.  Breedlove emphasized the need to have a place like the Marshall Center where national leaders, both military and civilian, can come and have open and free discussions. 

“European security and stability hasn’t been perfect.  We’ve had challenges,” Breedlove said.   “But we’ve enjoyed seven decades of peace in Europe since the end of World War II and that’s because of the partnerships we’ve built.  Many of those relationships started here.” 

EUCOM held its first European Security Summit last year at the Marshall Center following NATO’s initial response to Russian involvement in Ukraine. 

In addition to holding eight resident programs that examine complex and transnational security challenges, the Marshall Center hosts dozens of seminar and workshops reflecting it overall mission “to create a more stable security environment by advancing democratic institutions and relationships; promoting active, peaceful, whole-of-government approaches to address transnational and regional security challenges; and creating and enhancing enduring partnerships worldwide. 

More information about the Marshall Center can be found online at www.marshallcenter.org