Senior Defense Department Official Addresses Armenian Embassy Celebration of Armenian Army Day
WASHINGTON—A senior U.S. Defense Department official this week praised the “selfless contributions of the Armenian armed forces to international operations and peacekeeping missions,” highlighting Armenia’s commitment to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and recognizing Armenia as a top-five non-NATO contributor to NATO’s Kosovo force.
Speaking at the Armenian Embassy’s January 29 celebration of Armenian Army Day, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura K. Cooper also shared the Pentagon’s pride in Armenia’s 15-year “enduring” partnership with the Kansas National Guard, a joint undertaking that has materially increased Armenia’s NATO inter-operability. She closed her remarks by expressing her interest in visiting Armenia and exploring ways to deepen U.S.-Armenia defense ties, support a free and prosperous Armenia, and work cooperatively to advance regional and global security.
Speaking on behalf of the Armenian government, Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Varuzhan Nersesyan underscored the value that Armenia attaches to the continued evolution of bilateral U.S.-Armenia defense cooperation. In his remarks, Colonel Arman Mkrtchyan, Armenia’s Defense Attache in Washington, DC, reviewed the full array of international peacekeeping and other regional and international security operations undertaken by the Armenian military. A large delegation from the Kansas National Guard traveled from Kansas to take part in the celebration, as did defense attaches and other military officials from dozens of Washington, DC-based embassies.
“We welcome Deputy Assistant Secretary Cooper’s warm words conveying the Defense Department’s appreciation for a growing U.S.-Armenia military partnership that stretches from NATO’s Partnership for Peace and peace-keeping deployments across the globe to training and cooperation here at home, with the Kansas National Guard,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“We share the Pentagon’s commitment to the deepening of defense and security ties between the U.S. and Armenia, and look forward to steady progress in upgrading the status, scope, and scale of bilateral defense consultations. We will continue to engage with Administration and Congressional stakeholders regarding the mutual benefits of increased U.S. support for Armenia’s military modernization plans, including through expanded Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Educational Training (IMET), and programs aimed at strengthening Armenia’s peace-keeping training and operational capabilities,” concluded Hamparian.
The Congressional Armenian Caucus, in a December 18, 2018, letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, called for “policies and programs to broaden and deepen U.S.-Armenia military cooperation.”
Key points in Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Cooper’s remarks include:
- The Department of Defense appreciates the selfless contributions of the Armenian armed forces for international operations and peacekeeping missions.
- The Department of Defense values Armenia’s commitment to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
- The Department of Defense recognizes that Armenia is a top-five non-NATO contributor to NATO’s Kosovo force.
- The Department of Defense respects Armenia’s 15-year partnership with the Kansas National Guard, which has materially increased Armenia’s NATO inter-operability.
- The Department of Defense looks forward to deepening U.S.-Armenia defense ties, investing together to ensure a free and prosperous Armenia, and working cooperatively to advance regional and global security.