By DoD News
By Lisa Ferdinando
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived Tuesday in Germany, where he will meet with his German counterpart and highlight the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan.
Speaking to reporters en route to Europe, Mattis said he will meet with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to discuss issues of concern. He described the talks as the start of a strategic dialogue.
“By that I mean we’re going to sit down with my counterpart and talk about issues that are on her mind about the German-U.S. relationship,” he said.
Mattis is to deliver remarks Wednesday at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, an international security and defense studies institute founded as a partnership between the U.S. and German governments.
The center, located in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, is the only regional Defense Department center that is shared with another nation, Mattis said.
The Marshall Plan initiative provided more than $13 billion in economic support to help rebuild western European economies after the end of World War II.
NATO Meeting to Discuss Afghanistan
Mattis said he travels on to Brussels for a NATO ministerial session, pointing out it is the first such official meeting since Montenegro joined the alliance earlier this month.
The ministers are expected to cover a range of security topics to include Afghanistan, Mattis said, noting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, traveled this week to Afghanistan for an assessment of military and ancillary efforts.
Mattis said he plans to have private talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO forum.