November 24, 2021
Let me start by saying a huge thank you to General Floros to the Service Chiefs and to General Tzitzikostas for inviting me and our team to come out and witness today’s exercise.
It is just so impressive to see the progress that has been made in building the capacity and flexibility of the Hellenic Special Forces this JCET that we witnessed today brought together all of the different Greek Armed services but also critically representatives from the U.S. Special Forces community.
I want to say special thanks in this regard to General Taber, the Commander of Special Forces Europe SOCEUR and all of the elements under his command who have been fantastic partners for the Embassy and for Greece over many years now as we have prioritized our special forces partnership with Greece.
It was also a real honor for me today to see on the water in operation two of the four Mark V Special forces craft which the United States has provided at no cost to Greece under our Excess Defense Articles Program. These are assets that originally cost about 21 million U.S. dollars which will enhance the capacity of the Hellenic Special Forces as they continue to develop both their flexibility but also their relationships.
I have been so impressed to see not only the growth in the U.S. – Greece Special Forces partnership but also the way the Hellenic Special Forces are working across a wide region. They were deployed as part of the “Medusa” exercise just a few days ago.
The Hellenic Special Forces have been key partners for your neighbor North Macedonia as North Macedonia has sought to develop a NATO standard Special Forces capacity but also working with non NATO partners like Ukraine, like Serbia. It illustrates the unique capacity that Greece has to build bridges but also to act as a force multiplier to NATO and for our alliance in the wider region.
So General again congratulations! Fantastic to see this progress. I know we’re not finished yet but I’m so impressed from what I saw today and the development of the capacity and the flexibility is something that makes all of us safer and more secure.