The United States is proud to celebrate 200 years of friendship with Greece as we commemorate Greece’s historic bicentennial and the shared values that unite our countries. Greece is a close partner and NATO Ally with which the United States shares a deep and abiding security partnership. Its commitment to the Alliance and location at the crossroads of the Western Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, and NATO’s southeastern flank makes Greece a particularly important strategic ally. Since 2018, Greece and the United States have held an annual Strategic Dialogue at the ministerial level, with sessions devoted to defense and security issues. We appreciate the Greek government’s steadfast commitment to regional stability, particularly in its support for U.S. and Allied military operations, including NATO operations in Libya, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, and maritime counterterrorism and counterpiracy efforts.
Greece’s continued support for the Naval Support Activity — Souda Bay on the island of Crete ensures reliable U.S. access to one of the largest deep-water ports in the Mediterranean. At Souda Bay, Greece also hosts the NATO Missile Firing Installation, where NATO Allies like Germany and the Netherlands have tested their air defense, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missiles since 1967, and the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Center, where NATO Allies and partners train to execute surface, sub-surface, aerial surveillance, and special operations activities in support of maritime interdiction operations. Finally, on January 25, 2021, the North Atlantic Council approved the activation of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense (NATO IAMD) Centre of Excellence at Souda to enhance interoperability and support the development and exploitation of the IAMD capabilities of NATO Allies and Partners to safeguard and protect Alliance territory, populations, and forces against air and missile threats.
The United States has $10.5 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with Greece under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. FMS cases notified to Congress are listed here. Recent and/or significant past sales include an upgrade of 84 F-16 aircraft to “V” configuration and a modernization package for Greece’s 11 SH-70B “Aegean Hawk” helicopters. The Hellenic Navy received the first of five refurbished P-3B Orion aircraft in 2019, concluded an FMS agreement in 2020 for the purchase of four MH-60 “Romeo” helicopters, and submitted an amended request to purchase three additional Romeos in 2021.
Since 2016, Greece has received more than $276 million worth of military equipment through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program, including 1,200 U.S. Army M-1117 armored security vehicles, 70 OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters, and four Mark V Special Operations Craft.
From CY 2015 through CY 2019, the United States also authorized the permanent export of over $808.6 million in defense articles to Greece via Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). The top categories of DCS to Greece were military electronics ($380 million); fire control, laser, imaging, and guidance equipment ($200 million); and aircraft ($102.5 million).
In 2018, the Department of State provided $25 million in FY 2017 Foreign Military Financial (FMF) Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding under the European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP) to support Greece’s divestment of Soviet-legacy infantry fighting vehicles and procurement of a modern, U.S. alternative. The Department of Defense also provided $30.9 million in Title 10 assistance, almost exclusively through section 333 funding.
From FY 2016 to FY 2020, the Department also provided over $3 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds for Greek military personnel to participate in professional military education and technical training courses alongside their U.S. military counterparts. Since 1970, 9,483 Greek security forces have received formal training from the United States, including 2,337 through the IMET program.
The United States and Greece have the following defense cooperation agreements: The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) of 1986, the Defense Industrial Cooperation Agreement (DICA) of 1986, the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) of 1956, and the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) of 1990. The MDCA was updated in January 2020 to improve flexibility and access rights for U.S. forces in Greece, to better support U.S. forces operating from the Souda Bay Military Complex, and expand our bilateral military activities at several other locations in Greece. The MDCA will boost U.S.-Greek interoperability, support Greece’s ability to contribute to regional stability, and increase NATO’s ability to protect its southeastern flank.
Greece is a strong and long-standing contributor to United Nations (UN), NATO, and regional peacekeeping operations, including Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO’s KFOR mission in Kosovo. Since 2000, Greece has operated the Multinational Peace Support Operations Training Center (MPOTC) under the NATO Partnership for Peace Program. The MPOTC provides both academic and field training to national and multinational personnel, including courses on topics ranging from UN Peacekeeping and the Law of Armed Conflict, to IED awareness, patrolling, and communication procedures and NATO reporting systems.
According to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, legacy contamination of explosive remnants of war consists of booby-traps and unexploded ordnance remaining from World War II and from the 1946–1949 civil conflict in Western Macedonia and Epirus. In 2014, the Hellenic Army declared the island of Rhodes to be mine impact-free. Since 2015, the Army has also conducted demining, explosive ordnance destruction, and counter-IED training with their military counterparts from Romania, Bosnia, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.
Greece participates in multiple bilateral and multilateral military exercises with the United States, to include Thracian Cooperation, Jackal Stone, Saber Guardian, INIOCHOS, Defender Europe, and Alexander the Great. On an annual basis, the Armed Forces of the United States and Greece jointly participate in more than 15 major military exercises. Since 2018, thousands of our soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and special operators have trained together to increase our combined interoperability, adaptability, warfighting capability, and resilience. These engagements have helped make Greece a more capable Ally and increased regional defense cooperation.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.