By Kristina Wong - 02/11/14 10:13 AM EST
The USS Donald Cook arrived in Rota, Spain, on Tuesday morning, the first of four destroyers that will be based there to provide European allies with missile defense.
“Basing these four ships in Rota will give us same presence in Europe as rotating 16 ships from the U.S.,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said at a ceremony.
“For the first time, a ship of the United States Navy equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile-defense system is permanently based in Europe,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
“The arrival of the USS Donald Cook marks a step forward for NATO, for European security, and for transatlantic cooperation,” he said.
The a step was taken to reassure allies that the U.S. is not drawing down its commitment to regional security. Three additional ships will arrive at Rota over the next two years.
“Our commitment to our European allies cannot waiver and is not in doubt,” Mabus said.