On September 23, 2020, CEPA Pershing Chair LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges testified before the House Armed Services Committee on the role of allies and partners in U.S. military strategy and operations. In his opening statement, General Hodges emphasized the critical nature of U.S. defense capabilities in Europe, the importance of the Black Sea region, and the strategic value of the U.S.-Turkish relationship. He argued that as U.S. strategic interests shift to the Indo Pacific, the relationship with Europe remains vital to American security and prosperity. He stressed that the current security environment necessitates a greater enhancement of troop presence and depth. He outlined the transatlantic alliance’s vulnerabilities due to inadequate readiness levels, subpar integration of air and missile defense capabilities, and shortfalls in military mobility. General Hodges called on U.S. officials to turn their attention to the Black Sea region in part because of its importance to the Kremlin. He recommended that the United States revitalize and repair its relationship with Turkey as a part of its deterrence strategy for Russia. In his responses to committee members’ questions, General Hodges highlighted the need for more partner capacity-building and improved infrastructure in the Black Sea region to facilitate rapid reinforcements and enhance security.

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LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges

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September 23, 2020