World Pentagon chief urges more Black Sea security cooperation
Russian video shows a close encounter between US and Russian warships in the Pacific
The incident occurred in the Sea of Japan, where US warships have challenged Russian maritime claims in the past.The US Navy disputed that version of events on Friday evening, saying that Chafee was in international waters and the interaction was safe and professional.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged more defense cooperation among Black Sea allies Wednesday ahead of a NATO ministers summit.
Following talks in Bucharest with Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca, Austin said action was needed by littoral states of the Black Sea amid Russia "militarization" of the region.
"The security and stability of the Black Sea are in the US's national interest and critical for the security of NATO's eastern flank," he said.
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Congress recently blocked the Pentagon from moving more than $1 billion that defense officials had wanted to use instead on programs they consider higher priorities. More than $500 million of the money was for a handful of weapons built by powerful contractors. The Pentagon had said it does not need the $500 million-plus that was appropriated for […] The post Congress blocks cuts to top contractors’ weapon budgets appeared first on Roll Call.
"The region is vulnerable to Russian aggression and we've seen evidence of that by ongoing actions in eastern Ukraine (and) the occupations of parts of Georgia," he told reporters.
Austin was in Bucharest on the third stop of a tour of the region to build confidence among allies including Georgia and Ukraine, both of which hoping to join NATO, and to promote greater cooperation among military forces.
He will then take part in an in-person defense ministers summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
The US has nearly 1,000 troops in Romania, a full member of NATO, which Austin says is good deterrence against potential Russian aggression.
Most are stationed at the southeastern Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase but a number are also there to support an Aegis missile defense system, the first installed on NATO's eastern flank.
Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell
It's Monday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's unexpected death was greeted by an outpouring of grief from across the political spectrum, as Democrats and Republicans alike lauded the four-star general as a giant of public service and an African- American hero.We'll share the reactions from across the nation and globe, how the White House has responded, and Powell's long and distinguished legacy.For The Hill, I'm Ellen Mitchell.
Talks with Ciuca focused in part on how to advance current basic defense cooperation by the countries on the Black Sea rim.
"The Black Sea is and will continue to be an extremely important strategic center of gravity for European and Euro-Atlantic security," said Ciuca, speaking at a joint press conference.
Ciuca said that developing closer coordination with US and NATO forces in Romania, and deepening his own forces' capabilities, "represents the solution for countering Russia’s assertiveness."
But US officials rejected speculation that the Pentagon would expand its troop presence in Romania or establish a permanent base in the country.
"Not only are we not increasing troop levels, but there are also no plans for permanent basing in Romania at this time," a senior US defense official said.
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It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Top Pentagon officials testified in front of lawmakers on Tuesday about the risks emanating from Afghanistan weeks after the Taliban took control of the country. Meanwhile, private companies are stepping up to aid in relocation efforts for vulnerable Afghans, part of the 125,000 that were evacuated amid the U.S. exit from the country in August.And the Biden administration is taking a more forceful position on standing up for Taiwan.