Readout of Under Secretary of Defense Dr. William LaPlante’s Visit to Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium

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Department of Defense Spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen provided the following readout:

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. William LaPlante traveled to Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium April 15-19, 2024, to strengthen security cooperation with European allies and partners on both immediate requirements and opportunities for greater procurement, production, and sustainment collaboration in the future.  

During the semi-annual NATO Conference of National Armaments Directors (NADs), Dr. LaPlante discussed progress on implementation of NATO’s Defense Production Action Plan (DPAP), multinational procurement initiatives, and programmatic oversight.

Allied leaders agreed to the DPAP at the 2023 Vilnius Summit to accelerate joint procurement, address defense industrial challenges, and increase interoperability and interchangeability between allies. These efforts are guided by the NATO Defense Industrial Production Board, which met for the second time in Brussels the week prior and remains focused on increasing industrial capacity, strengthening supply chain security, and driving standardization across capabilities.

Dr. LaPlante also commended progress on increasing co-development and co-production efforts, such as production of Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles-Tactical (GEM-T) in Germany. Earlier this year, NATO Support and Procurement Agency awarded a $5.6 billion contract to support the procurement of up to 1,000 GEM-T missiles by multiple European nations. This multinational bundling of procurement enables economies of scale to expand production capacity, meet rising demand, and enhance security of supply.

On April 19, Dr. LaPlante co-chaired the 11th meeting of NADs under the auspices of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) alongside his Ukrainian counterpart, Lieutenant General Ivan Havryliuk. During the meeting, Dr. LaPlante emphasized the critical role NADs play in executing ministerial guidance through procurement, production, and sustainment while reaffirming the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine. Nearly 50 nations and multinational agencies participated.

Throughout the trip, Dr. LaPlante also conducted bilateral engagements with the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, Acting NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, and NADs from Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

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