Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Slovak Minister of Defense Martin Glváč yesterday at the Pentagon to discuss the strategic partnership between Slovakia and the United States. Secretary Hagel took the opportunity to thank Slovakia for its many contributions to regional security, particularly in Afghanistan, but also through its assistance to Ukraine, epitomized by the reverse flow of gas. The Secretary also praised Slovakia’s commitment to military modernization, and affirmed that the U.S. wants to be Slovakia’s strategic partner in these efforts.
Secretary Hagel and Minister of Defense Glváč also discussed deepening strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Slovakia on military modernization. Secretary Hagel endorsed Slovakia’s modernization efforts, pledged his support of Slovakia’s plan to modernize its helicopter fleet, and urged Slovakia to consider U.S.-origin helicopters to increase interoperability.
They also discussed support to Ukraine, emphasizing that the U.S. and Slovakia continue to present a united front with NATO to deal with Russia’s aggressive behavior in the region. Secretary Hagel particularly welcomed the humanitarian and development aid, military training, and the reverse flow of gas Slovakia is providing to support Ukraine’s security.
Finally, they discussed investments in defense. Minister Glváč assured Secretary Hagel that Slovakia will fulfill the obligations to which they committed at the NATO summit in Wales. Minister Glváč highlighted that Slovakia committed to spending 1.6 percent of GDP on defense by 2020 and by 2016, they plan to allocate 20 percent of the defense budget for modernization.