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Dunford Arrives in Brussels for NATO Military Committee Meeting

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks with Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Jan. 17, 2017. NATO’s chiefs of defense meet twice a year to discuss NATO operations and missions to provide the North Atlantic Council with consensus-based military advice on how to best meet global security challenges. DoD photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann

BRUSSELS, May 16, 2017 — Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford arrived here today to discuss Afghanistan, countering terrorism and other missions during NATO’s Military Committee chiefs of defense meeting.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will join his fellow chiefs of defense at tomorrow’s meeting to assess the threats facing the alliance. Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel is the chairman of the Military Committee and will lead the discussions.

Afghanistan Discussions

The committee will look at the security environment in Afghanistan and the way forward for the Resolute Support Mission in that country.

Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Resolute Support, has recommended the NATO nations increase the number of troops they deploy to Afghanistan. He has said the situation in the nation is at risk of becoming a stalemate. There are currently around 13,000 troops in Afghanistan with more than 9,000 being American.

Nicholson will participate in the discussions with the chiefs of defense when they are speaking of Afghanistan. He will present what he proposes for 2018 and beyond.

The chiefs will also discuss the threats posed to alliance nations on the southern flank, whether by direct attack — like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria attacks in Turkey — or through refugees. Turkey has provided refuge to about 2.2 million refugees.

The chiefs will also discuss Russia’s activities and alliance efforts to deter Russia.

The NATO heads of state and government meeting is slated for May 25 and the chiefs’ discussion this week will help frame matters for the leaders. President Donald J. Trump will attend that meeting.

Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; and French Air Force Gen. Denis Mercier, the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, will also attend the meeting.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

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