U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will travel to Europe next week where he will discuss the war in Afghanistan and cooperative efforts with defense leaders in four countries.
“This trip provides an opportunity to meet with allies on NATO cooperation, as well as discuss the mission in Afghanistan,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said during a Jan. 8 briefing. “These nations combined have provided thousands of troops to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.”
Panetta is scheduled to visit Lisbon, Madrid, Rome and London during the weeklong trip.
“He wants to see our foreign counterparts to reaffirm our very strong commitment to trans-Atlantic defense alliances,” Little said. “This is a trip that is about trying to drive even deeper relationships with very close allies. There is a lot of work to be done with our European allies.”
The trip could be Panetta’s last as defense secretary, as he plans to retire in the coming months. President Barack Obama has nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel to replace him at DoD.