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January 25, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "USA Today" - WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James Mattis, on his first full day in office Monday, called NATO allies and assured them of the U.S. commitment to the alliance, a notable stand that differs from the occasional skepticism of the organization voiced by President Trump.

Mattis called NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, according to readouts of the calls provided by Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Mattis, in his call to Fallon, “emphasized the United States’ unshakeable commitment to NATO” as well as the close relationship the Pentagon enjoys with the British military.

Last week, Trump called the 28-nation NATO alliance “obsolete” and “very unfair to the United States.” Trump also has criticized alliance members for failing to live up to guidelines calling for member states to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.

Mattis has consistently backed the alliance. As a Marine Corps general, he served as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. Mattis called Stoltenberg on his first full day, according to the readout, because he wanted to reinforce the importance he places on the alliance.

Mattis told Fallon that he appreciated the United Kingdom’s commitment to the 2% guideline, their focus on defeating the Islamic State and the meeting of NATO defense chiefs in February.

Mattis also thanked Sajjan for Canada’s defense participation in alliances with the United States, including NATO.

Readout of Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ Call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Press Operations

Release No: NR-023-17

Jan. 23, 2017

Pentagon Spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis provided the following readout:


Secretary Mattis spoke today by telephone with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to reconnect and discuss the key role NATO plays in transatlantic security. The secretary, who previously served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, wanted to place the call on his first full day in office to reinforce the importance he places on the alliance.


The two leaders discussed the importance of our shared values, and the secretary emphasized that when looking for allies to help defend these values, the United States always starts with Europe.


Both pledged to consult in the months to come and look forward to meeting in person during the NATO Defense Ministerial in February.