President Obama and other world leaders focused on the war in Afghanistan Monday morning at the NATO summit meeting at McCormick Place.
Monday morning's meeting began about 15 minutes later than planned. World leaders, chatting before the opening comments, seemed relaxed and ready to work on getting out of Afghanistan.
President Obama and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen brought the meeting into its second day.
"This is the largest ever gathering at a NATO summit," Rasmussen told the summit attendees. "It is a testament to our shared commitment to the Afghan people and the future of Afghanistan."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai sat just to the left of Rasmussen, announcing more Afghan forces are taking the lead from NATO -- now up to 50 percent.
By next year NATO wants all security led by Afghanistan itself, with NATO troops out entirely by the end of 2014.
"But our commitment is for the long term," Rasmussen said. "From 2015, we expect to maintain a NATO-led presence to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. NATO and ISAF nations will also pay their share to help sustain the army and police Afghanistan needs for the coming years."
But how long is a matter on which these leaders must still decide, as this war-torn country rebuilds after decades of conflict.
"We have a lot of work to do," President Obama told the summit members. "I want to thank all of my fellow leaders for being here. Our nations and the world have a vital interest in the success of this mission. And I am confident because of the leadership represented here, as well as the leadership of our outstanding armed forces, that we can advance that goal."
By the afternoon, leaders agreed on three key points to get NATO troops out of the 11-year long war.
"The next stage of our engagement until our mission is completed at the end of 2014. The role of NATO after 2014 and certainly our support for the sustainment for the future Afghan security forces," Rasmussen said.
But for all the talk of benchmarks, one of the largest went unanswered: Raising the $4 billion dollars needed to pay for Afghan security forces after NATO leaves. Though not a stated goal of the summit, Afghan President Hamid Karzai came to Chicago in part to secure the future funding his country will need to keep the peace.
Despite this, most say that the summit was a successful one.
"We are leaving Chicago with a NATO alliance that is stronger, more capable and more ready for the future," Obama said. "As a resullt, each of our nations, the United States included, is more secure and we're in a stronger position to advance the security and prosperity and freedom that we seek around the world."
Chicago even got shoutout from the president in his final speech of the summit: "I think Chicago performed magnificently."
On Monday night, Obama is scheduled to give the high school commencement address in Joplin, Mo., which was hit by a deadly tornado last year.