Today Gen. George Joulwan, the Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command, and the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, announced that he plans to retire next spring, after 36 years of active duty service. I want to take this opportunity to commend this extraordinary soldier for his exemplary service to his Nation, particularly his role in building a new post-cold-war security structure in Europe.
His sound military advice on the use of military power to back U.S. diplomacy, his crucial role in shaping new security structures and partnerships, and his superlative leadership in implementing peace in Bosnia will ensure that the NATO alliance will remain the anchor of American engagement in Europe and the linchpin of transatlantic security. In Bosnia, a breakthrough was achieved when he married appropriate military power to diplomatic leadership. He seized this opportunity for peace which he had created, helped to broker a cease-fire, and then, through his command of the multinational force IFOR, he ensured a stable and secure environment so that the parties had the confidence to carry out their obligations under the Dayton agreement.
As General Joulwan worked to bring peace to Bosnia, he also led the effort to transform NATO so that it could better address such conflicts and remain the guarantor of Europe's democracy and the central force for European stability. He was the architect of the adaptation of NATO to meet the new challenges of a changed world, enhancing its security through the Partnership For Peace program and by modernizing its command structure. His efforts have built a foundation for a Europe that is safe, secure, and democratic well into the 21st century.
General Joulwan's leadership and wise counsel will truly be missed in the senior decisionmaking ranks of our national security structure. Hillary and I join our NATO allies in wishing him the very best.