June 26, 2018
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for welcoming me to this venue today.
Herbert Salber, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Bulgaria,
Dr. Matthew Rhodes, Director of Programs in Central and Southeast Europe,
Security Resiliency is a critical issue for all nations, including the United States, and is vital to the NATO Alliance and its partners as well. Too often, the role of resilience is overlooked in discussions of security and defense. Sovereignty, security, and defense of the NATO Allies and our partner nations is essential. We must remain cognizant of that which we are defending, and plan our resiliency not only to secure and defend ourselves, but to rebuild and restore after any conflict.
We should pause to recognize that Bulgaria has a leading role to play in this important aspect of NATO’s security and defense. Bulgaria is the host of the NATO Center of Excellence for Crisis Management and Disaster Preparedness. The work of the Center of Excellence informs, aids, and trains all Allies and partner nations to prepare for, respond to, and be resilient in the face of crisis and disaster.
The NATO Alliance is about defending peoples and nations, but it is also about defending values and a way of life. This means allowing people to go back to their daily lives and routines as swiftly as possible following any crisis or disaster.
On this continent, first after World War II with the Marshall Plan, and then after the end of the Cold War with a myriad of efforts to bring Eastern Europe into the Euro-Atlantic fold through political, economic, defense, and even cultural support, the United States has stood by the nations of Europe.
Here in Bulgaria, for example, the State Partnership Program with Tennessee is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The State Partnership Program provided the tools that eventually made Bulgaria’s membership in NATO possible. Support such as this aided in the resiliency of the people and the nations of Europe, but the bulk of the effort fell to the people and governments of Europe, and they delivered.
The expansion of NATO and the inclusion of former adversaries in this great Alliance underscore our shared values and commitments. Just as we work and plan to prevent conflict, and we work and plan to win wars, we can work and plan to recover from the aftermath of a crisis or disaster, whatever the cause.
The Marshall Center has also just celebrated its own 25th anniversary. Founded in the spirit of the Marshall Plan and the endeavor for closer Euro-Atlantic integration, its excellent ongoing work over the past quarter century has been one more vital contribution to the underlying capacity for resilience of our nations. I am thus especially pleased to be here with all of you to support today’s important endeavor and see, yet again, Bulgaria’s leadership within NATO for the benefit of the Alliance.
Thank you, and I wish you all the greatest success!