NATO should more directly address terrorist threats along its southern flank, from the Mediterranean to Turkey's south, the new U.S. defense secretary, James Mattis, said Friday.
Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Mattis called for a change in NATO to meet new security challenges, such as terrorism, cyber threats, and hybrid war.
"We all see our community of nations under threat on multiple fronts as the arc of instability built on NATO's periphery and beyond," he said in the Germany city.
Mattis stressed that NATO should reinforce its deterrence and defense capabilities and "more directly address" terrorist threats along NATO's southern flank, from the Mediterranean to Turkey's border.
U.S. President Donald Trump's defense secretary renewed Washington's commitment to transatlantic ties and NATO, amid worries in European capitals about radical change in the U.S foreign policy under Trump, and turmoil in Trump's security team.
"President Trump came into office and has thrown now his full support to NATO," Mattis stressed.
"He too espouses NATO's need to adapt to today's strategic situation for it to remain credible, capable, and relevant," he added.
Mattis also voiced strong support for closer cooperation between NATO and the EU.
Trump earlier criticized NATO and argued that if had failed to address terrorism and today's challenges.
"NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was, you know, designed many, many years ago. Number two -- the countries aren't paying what they're supposed to pay," he said, in an interview with Germany's Bild daily last month. -