North American Defense Leaders Agree on Need for Cooperation

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signs a joint statement with other defense leaders after hosting the third North American Defense Ministerial meeting at the Pentagon, May 22, 2017. From left to right are Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, Mattis, Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Cienfuegos Zepedas and Mexico's secretary of navy, Adm. Vidal Soberón

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Washington, DC – US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosted the third North American Defense Ministerial meeting on May 22 with Canadian Defense Minster of Harjit Sajjan, Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, and Adm. Vidal Soberón, secretary of the Mexican navy.

“The secretaries and minister concurred on the importance of the North American community and continued cooperation and friendship as an example to the international community, to address the common and borderless challenges facing our region, and to advance the security of our people,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said in a statement.

They also recognized that North America, as a community, has global responsibilities and that complex challenges are best addressed by cooperative responses, she added.

Framework of NADM

The NADM provides a potential framework for cooperation and coordination among North America’s defense institutions to build a common understanding of threats and approaches to address these threats and to identify and implement initiatives to promote trilateral defense cooperation, White said.

The North American defense leaders decided to strengthen US, Canadian, and Mexican defense cooperation, advance the capability of the North American community to address mutually identified hemispheric defense challenges cooperatively, expand trilateral support and cooperation for multilateral regional defense institutions, and exchange lessons learned and best practices for peacekeeping activities, White said.


The NADM is the defense component of North American regional cooperation efforts, White said. White also noted that Mattis also hosted bilateral meetings with the two nations’ defense leaders.

Mattis hosts Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosts Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan at the Pentagon, May 22, 2017. DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

Earlier in February, Mattis had also hosted Canada’s Minister Sajjan at the Pentagon and it was Mattis’ first time hosting a defense counterpart as secretary of defense.

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