President Biden made it clear two weeks ago that diplomacy will be our primary means of engaging with the world, and it must be our first tool of choice. At the same time, the president also recognizes that all of our decisions and actions must be accomplished from a position of strength.

For the Defense Department, this means fielding a credible force, ready to back up the hard work of diplomacy. It also means working closely with our allies and partners to secure our common interests and promote our shared values abroad. Simply put, we cannot meet our responsibilities alone, nor should we try.

This is the message I will deliver Wednesday to my counterparts at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting. We must consult together, decide together and act together.