The two, meeting at the White House to discuss preparations for the May 20-21 summit in Chicago, agreed the gathering will "focus on three important topics: Afghanistan, defense capabilities and partnerships," the White House said in a statement.
"On Afghanistan, the president and the secretary-general agreed that the NATO summit should reaffirm allied commitment to the transition framework agreed to at Lisbon, while planning for the final stages of that transition -- including a shift next year from combat to a support role, as well as enduring support for sufficient and sustainable Afghan forces," the statement said.
"The president and secretary-general also agreed that the summit should highlight the commitment of allies to field the defense capabilities that NATO needs for the 21st century," the White House said. "They discussed their expectation that allies would be in a position to announce progress on a number of key capabilities initiatives, including on missile defense."
The statement said Obama and Rasmussen "discussed the importance of NATO's partnerships with non-NATO countries."
"NATO is now a hub for a global network of security partners which have served alongside NATO forces in Afghanistan, Libya and Kosovo," the White House said. "Recognizing the important contributions provided by partner nations, the president and secretary-general welcomed the recent decision by allies to invite a group of 13 partner nations to Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss ways to further broaden and deepen NATO's cooperation with partner nations."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]