The Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) – Greece is one of the oldest security assistance organizations in the world. Our history in Athens began back at the close of WWII, when the United States established the first elements of what was to become the Joint US Military Aid Group, Greece (JUSMAGG), per US-Greece agreement signed on 20 Jun 47. JUSMAGG, whose ranks swelled to 595 personnel at its peak during the Cold War, played an important part in channeling over 6 billion dollars in Marshall Plan postwar and Cold War security assistance aid to Greece between 1947 and 1997, helping to make Greece the single-largest recipient of Western aid in all of postwar Europe. Despite Greece’s problematic postwar history, this aid is largely credited with holding Greece within the embrace of Western Europe, despite the economic collapse of literally all of Greece’s Cold War-era communist neighbors.
First known as the American Military Mission, we were instrumental in furnishing Marshall Plan aid to the Greek forces after World War II. This aid largely held off communist led insurgencies during Greece’s bloody Civil War that were fueled by Greece’s highly-fractured post-War political landscape. JUSMAGG was there during and after Greece’s devastating civil war to provide Marshall Plan aid and other forms of assistance to Greece’s war-torn and troubled social, political, and economic framework. This aid continued throughout the Cold War, although aid packages shifted towards helping Greece, now as a member of NATO, defend itself against the communist threat that had by then caused the social, political, and economic collapse of Albania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania, all located alongside Greece’s entire northern frontier. Throughout this timeframe, JUSMAGG played a key advisory role to the Hellenic military, and we helped the Hellenic military to arm, equip, and organize itself into an efficient fighting force which could, in concert with NATO, counter the communist threat.
On 1 March 1988, nearing the end of the Cold War, we changed our name from JUSMAGG and became the Office of Defense Cooperation, or ODC. This latest name change is a sign of our maturing defense relationship with Greece.