U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James met on Wednesday with Bulgarian leadership to reaffirm U.S. Air Force commitment to cooperation with Bulgaria on shared NATO objectives and to supporting Bulgaria’s defense modernization, specifically the multi role fighter program. Following her meetings, Secretary James said, “I had very helpful conversations with Defense Minister Nenchev, Foreign Minister Mitov, Deputy Minister of Defense Zapryanov, Chief of Defense Gen Popov, and Chief of the Bulgarian Air Force Maj Gen Radev. We are all committed to the NATO Alliance, to our bilateral partnership with Bulgaria, and to continuing our close collaboration in the future. It was wonderful getting to thank them for hosting our Airmen during deployments supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve. Our joint exercises and training are fantastic opportunities to improve inoperability and strengthen our air forces’ relationship which helps us respond to a variety of potential threats and increase the professionalism of our Airmen.”
During her visit Secretary James also participated in an Atlantic Club event, during which she discussed the role of airpower in global security. During her remarks, Secretary James focused on the U.S. Air Force’s enduring commitment to fostering transatlantic defense cooperation and supporting ongoing security efforts with partner nations worldwide. “The challenges we face today mean we can’t take security and airpower for granted and we must work together in close cooperation. That’s why our transatlantic partnerships need to remain strong… there is strategic value that unity brings to our alliance—the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts and we have much work to do.”
Secretary James took the office of Secretary of the Air Force in 2013. As the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force, she is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 690,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families.
Secretary James was accompanied by Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Heidi H. Grant during her visit to Bulgaria. U.S. Embassy Sofia’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong and Senior Defense Official Col. Jamie Crowhurst also attended Wednesday’s meetings.
Secretary James’ visit to Bulgaria is part of a regional visit to advance security cooperation of the United States and discuss mutual security concerns.