U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) appealed directly to Secretary of Defense James Mattis to emphasize the strategic value of the military base at Souda Bay, which is located in the northwest corner of Crete.
This military asset represents the largest deep water port in the Mediterranean Sea, the only one between Norfolk and the Indian Ocean that can accommodate a nuclear carrier pier-side to an airfield facility, allowing the Navy fleet to dock and carry out repairs, maintenance and resupply functions.
The base enhances U.S. security response capability by providing, operating and sustaining superior facilities and services dedicated to combat readiness.
In addition to supporting current discussions between the U.S. and Greece to negotiate a longer-term Mutual Cooperation Defense Agreement, Congressman Bilirakis offered to serve as a resource to both parties throughout the process in order to further U.S. defense policy initiatives.
In his letter to Secretary Mattis, Bilirakis says:
“In these turbulent times, it is more important than ever to ensure that our military has all of the resources it needs to respond to an international crisis and optimize its ability to defend our country.
“The base at Souda Bay is an important component of that readiness. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance, the strategic alliance between the United States and Greece is of the utmost importance to me.
“I look forward to being helpful throughout the negotiation process in order to enhance our national security”.