Hagel in Brussels for NATO Meetings

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Brussels on Monday for two days of meetings with the defense ministers of the NATO alliance. Discussion topics will include the alliance’s post-2014 train-assist-advise role in Afghanistan, a potential Libya training mission, and future collective defense, said US defense officials. Members will also hold their first dedicated session on cybersecurity, they said. Syria is not an official item on the agenda, although the topic may come up on the margins of the official sessions, they said. Hagel flew into Brussels from Singapore where he attended an Asian security conference. This is his first NATO defense ministerial conference as Defense Secretary. The Brussels gathering came several days after NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with President Obama in the While House. Obama said his May 31 talk with Rasmussen focused on Afghanistan. “We also discussed the importance of continuing to improve NATO defense capabilities in a new world with new threats,” including “how we start building up greater and greater capacity and integration” through ” burden-sharing on the part of all NATO members,” said Obama. (Obama-Rasmussen remarks) (AFPS report by Karen Parrish)