U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on Wednesday, emphasizing the importance of U.S. and European cooperation.  He also used his speech to honor the 70th anniversary of the Marshal Plan that saved millions of Europeans from starvation and what he called, “Soviet domination.”

“The U.S. commitment to our NATO Article 5 security guarantee is ironclad,” Mattis told the gathering of U.S. and German officials.

Article 5 of the NATO charter states that an attack on any one NATO member nation will be considered an attack on all members.  Because of this, it is often referred to as the “mutual defense” article.  President Trump raised eyebrows during his campaign by suggesting the United States may not honor this facet of the agreement because other NATO states have failed to honor articles requiring financial support of the alliance, though he and his administration have worked to counter the concerns that statement raised in the international community since taking office.

Longing for a safer future, the Greatest Generation saw their own security in the security of others,” the secretary said. “They had the courage to recognize all collective efforts had to be taken to avoid repeating mistakes that open the door to war.”