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Joint Press Point - SACEUR - Exercise Steadfast Defender

Supreme Allied Commander Europe: General Tod D. Wolters

Secretary General. Minister. Chairman Peach. First Sea Lord.

Commodore. Captain. Sailors. And most importantly to all the great citizens that represent Portugal, and all the great sailors that represent the Queen Elizabeth.

I thank you for what you've done to generate peace, and I thank you more so for what you'll do in the future.

And if I could I would like to deviate from the script for just a second to acknowledge one tremendous individual who has been very very responsible for a very long time for generating peace. As was just mentioned, the current Chairman of the Military Committee woke up one morning 50 years ago and decided to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. And from that day to this very moment many of us have had the good fortune to know Stu Peach for the vast majority of his time that he served in the military, focused on generating peace and securing peace, not only across Europe, but globally. And it was years ago, and months ago, when we would communicate and say to ourselves: Stu, your retirements coming up and it's years away. And as time has gone by it's months away. And as we stand here today his retirement is imminent after a half a century of service to generating peace. And I know of no greater patriot that exists on planet earth that has done more for peace and security than Stu Peach. And I would ask that you to join me in a warm NATO round of applause for his great service in his soon retire.

Many of you have heard about Steadfast Defense. And it is glorious. It is the largest NATO exercise in 2021, and it's more importantly, the most complicated and complex exercise that we will embrace in NATO for 2021 as evidenced by the launch and recovery of those glorious F 35s aboard the QE.

It is our goal to test the capabilities of all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. From the lowest tactical level, the best tactical level, all the way to the senior command level, and here today on the Queen Elizabeth, and all of our Component Commanders. And it is our goal to make sure that as we start with Joint Forces Command North in the United States Commander Second Fleet, on the eastern seaboard of the United States, and connect with a NATO Maritime Commander in Europe, and the Commander of Sixth Fleet, and connect with the Joint Forces Command Naples, and connect with all of the Component Commands that are responsible for generating peace, as this Steadfast Defender tests our middle from the eastern coast of the United States to secure the Atlantic, to secure the Mediterranean, and to go in and work with our NATO Response Force and our Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. As we work in Europe, all the way through Romania our goal is solely to improve the readiness of our forces. We want to wake up tomorrow, more resilient, more responsive and more lethal than we were yesterday. In all old domains: air, land, sea, space and cyber. At all levels, from the tactical level to the young troop, all the way to the colonel level who command ships, all the way to the senior level who bear the responsibility to make strategic decisions. One of the things that we continue to prove to ourselves is this: If you practice hard, your security is better. And our goal throughout all of this is to ensure that we protect the 1 billion citizens that we swore to protect and we generate greater peace. Thank you very much.

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