The head of the Pentagon, General Lloyd Austin, will begin a tour this Saturday that will take him to Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom and NATO headquarters in Brussels, according to the Defense Department.
In Israel, Austin will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, with whom he will “reaffirm the enduring U.S. commitment to the U.S.-Israel strategic partnership.”
Later, in Germany, Austin is scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and foreign policy adviser Jan Hecker to “reinforce the value the United States places on the bilateral defense relationship with one of its closest NATO allies.”
“Other topics of discussion include countering the malign influence of our shared strategic rivals and continued dialogue on the posture of U.S. forces in Germany and elsewhere,” the Pentagon reported.
In Germany, Austin will also visit the Stuttgart headquarters of U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command, where he will greet troops and meet with commanders.
The third stop on the tour will be in Brussels, at NATO headquarters, where Austin will hold a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with whom he will discuss how the alliance “is addressing destabilizing behavior by Russia, a rising China, terrorism and global challenges such as covid-19 and climate change.”
Finally, in the United Kingdom, the Pentagon chief will meet with his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, to reaffirm the importance of defense cooperation between Washington and London to address global challenges.
In mid-March, Austin, accompanied by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, made his first international tour with visits to Tokyo and Seoul.