United States Department of Defense
Presenter: Senior Administration Official
|Wednesday, October 8, 2003|
Background Briefing on Informal NATO Ministerial
(Also participating was a Senior Defense Official)
Senior Administration Official: I thought what I could do usefully is just take you through what is being discussed here. I’m going to do it very, very quickly just so you can get a sense of what the issues are. Anything you are interested in, you can talk about. And let me just say first, you know, NATO for a long time, has been in transition. And a lot of people have questioned NATO’s relevance and NATO’s importance. I think that the overall theme of this first day, and the tone of the discussions, particularly from Secretary Rumsfeld has been that NATO’s in very good shape: that in essence we’re creating a new organization, and that we have undergone a tremendous transformation over the last couple of years. Let me just tick off how that is and what that is.
First of all, we have new missions. The old mission was to defend Europe from a Soviet attack, or in the nineties, it was the Balkans. The new mission is you have to go outside of Europe to defend Europe and North America. That’s why we have new missions in the east, and NATO is looking east and expanding east.
We’re in Afghanistan. We’ve taken over the force there and we’ve just made a decision, in principle, two days ago that will expand the ISAF force outside of Kabul itself. The Germans are going into Kunduz, and that is a very important decision that is being talked about this week.
We’re in Iraq. You heard what the Secretary said. We’re supporting the Polish and Spanish division. It’s a collective NATO action, a collective NATO action. He gave you the figures of the number of Allies and number of invited countries that are in Iraq, and one more of course, added this week -- Turkey. So we think that is NATO’s future, because that’s where the threat of terrorism and WMD is. And that is a historic change for NATO. And you heard the Secretary in your various conversations with him say that.
Secondly, and [the senior defense official] will talk about this, much more expertly than I can, we have undergone a complete military overhaul. Secretary Rumsfeld proposed a year ago a NATO Response Force. It’s now nearly ready to begin operations. He presented the idea of a new command structure and [the senior defense official] negotiated that for the United States. That’s done. It was our idea to set up the Alliance Command Transformation, the new command in Norfolk -- and we had a great briefing today from Admiral Giambastiani – and our idea to create a Chemical and Biological Defense battalion. These are all ideas that came out of the Pentagon. And one of the things that I want to say as a career official who has served in several administrations, is that I’ve never seen the commitment by a Secretary of Defense to this Alliance the way Secretary Rumsfeld has committed himself. He has put in an enormous amount of time—his personal time – over the last two years, into thinking through and reconceptualizing the defense side of NATO. In all of these things that are the foundations of our military reforms, he proposed last year at the Warsaw Ministerial. And they were done and they’re now completed. And I just think that he gets very little credit for that, either in our own country and certainly in Europe; I think he deserves a lot more. I think that a lot of the Ministers at the table speak about that, the fact that the United States, under his leadership, has played that leadership role.
What are some of the other issues? This meeting is the first meeting that the seven new countries have attended. They’re de facto Allies, but they’re very important and they’re shifting our center of gravity eastward. We’re also looking at an outreach by NATO to Central Asia and the Caucasus, through the Partnership for Peace. Tomorrow we have Sergei Ivanov coming, and we’re building up the NATO-Russia relationship, and of course we have our own Council with Russia. Ukraine is not here because it’s an informal meeting, but Ukraine is a major focus of our attention. And again, here the United States, along with Poland and Canada, has been among the leaders in pushing for a new relationship with Ukraine.
I think also we’re succeeding in the Balkans. Tomorrow, we talk about the Balkans. That’s on tomorrow’s agenda. We talk about SFOR and we talk about KFOR. But if you look at NATO’s record -- eight years, nearly in Bosnia, four years in Kosovo – we’ve kept the peace in both places. And I think we’ve succeeded in Bosnia, certainly. Many, many challenges ahead in Kosovo.
I would just quickly list – if that’s the positive side of the agenda, if that’s what we’re doing well – here’s where the remaining challenges are. And [the senior defense official] will certainly speak to the first two. Capabilities gap, which we’ve always had between the U.S. and the NATO Allies but which is expanding in some ways. Second, the issue of “usability.” Lord Robertson sent a letter out to each Defense Minister before this meeting saying the real problem is not just capabilities, or lack thereof. It’s the fact that only a small percentage – about three percent -- of Europe’s 2.4 million soldiers in uniform can be deployed into a hostile combat situation. And that was a major focus of today’s conversation.
Q: You mean deployed outside Europe or deployed anywhere?
Senior Administration Official: Can be deployed into a combat situation.
Q: Two percent?
Senior Administration Official: Three percent, and [the senior defense official] will get into that. But I wanted to list …
Senior Defense Official: Probably the best way to say this is “deployed outside of a static combat situation.”
Q: Right. In other words, out of area.
Senior Defense Official: Well, even out of the country.
Q: I’m sorry – static? All combat is not static, so you’ll have to help me understand you’re saying.
Senior Defense Official: Most of the forces still have the legacy capability of “fight in place.” And so when you think about the way you would support a fight-in-place unit versus one that has to go half way around the world, you don’t need a lot of the things. A lot of the things that you’d have to take with you half way around the world, you don’t need if you’re doing it in your own country. Combat support …
Q: … designed for a defensive threat, and not the …
Senior Defense Official: Right. Better put, the national forces that are available to NATO are much more static in their orientation. And so one of the focuses today was, rather than focusing on this, you know, NATO countries need to spend more money – well, maybe they do in some cases need to spend more money. Clearly they’re spending money on the wrong things if only three percent of their available forces can deploy outside of their country, and outside of the NATO North Atlantic Treaty area. That number, by the way, does not include U.S. forces.
Senior Administration Official: Right. It’s just the European forces.
Senior Defense Official: I think it does.
Senior Administration Official: It does. It’s the 18 Allies, and these are Robertson’s figures. He sent a letter to the Defense Ministers. First of all, he raised this in June in Brussels at our last meeting. He sent a letter on Sept. 23rd before this meeting saying here’s a huge issue that engages us in transformation, so we can talk more about that. And let me just finish.
The last challenge, but it may be the biggest challenge, is we have got to figure out a way to proceed with a cooperative NATO-EU relationship. Cooperative but not competitive. We have a rules of the road, we have a working relationship under the rubric of Berlin Plus – seven agreements which essentially say NATO will support the EU as it develops its European Security and Defense Identity. But it will support it under the understanding that the European Union remains a partner. It won’t seek to create duplicate military headquarters. It won’t seek to become a rival to NATO in a security sense. And we thought in March of this year, when we signed the Berlin Plus agreements, that we had that straight. And that when EU undertook a security mission, it would actually borrow NATO resources, so the operational planning would be done at SHAPE headquarters and the operational commander would be the SHAPE Deputy Supreme Allied Commander. And that’s the way we did it in Macedonia, when the EU went into Macedonia at the end of March.
But when the ink was barely dry [on the Berlin Plus agreements], you had this summit on April 29 of France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg and they said let’s create an independent EU military headquarters, let’s think about an Article 5-like clause for the EU constitution, let’s think about our own SHAPE. All those issues are being debated now in the Inter-governmental Conference as they look at finalizing the EU constitution.
And what Secretary Rumsfeld has been putting forth at this meeting – in individual meetings, but also in the larger gathering – is we need to go back to the roots of Berlin Plus and preserve a cooperative, but not competitive relationship. The U.S. is opposed to attempts to split Europe off – rather the EU off – from NATO. That’s a major challenge. I’m happy to talk about it.
Senior Defense Official: A properly constructed NATO-EU relationship not only strengthens the European defense capability, but it strengthens NATO.
Q: Is that what’s holding up the agreement on Bosnia, the EU taking over control of the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia?
Senior Defense Official: I don’t think it’s holding it up because I think at this point NATO hasn’t made any decisions yet on what it wants to do with SFOR. But when we do take that issue up, I think that will be one of the factors that NATO will look at in making that decision. So right now, I wouldn’t say it is, simply because NATO still has SFOR in Bosnia, and NATO very much hasn’t even made any decisions with respect to a) whether stability operations there can or should either end, or be transformed into something different. But when and if those decisions are made, I do think a factor in that – I mean the first factor of course, will be – what’s good for Bosnia? But I think the ESDP will be a factor.
Q: Does the Secretary of Defense intend to raise specifically the question of the European headquarters? Does he intend to open a discussion about this tomorrow, or not?
Senior Administration Official: Basically in the discussions today, he made the points that I summarized and I think what we’re prepared to do is have an open, transparent, and good discussion at NATO. But it seems to us that if the European Union is going to be debating these issues very intensively, and in a detailed way, we’ve got to have a similar conversation at NATO. Eleven of the 19 Allies at NATO are members of the European Union. So if you’re talking about the structural – major historic structural changes in the European Union context, you’ve got to do it at NATO, too. And that’s something we agreed upon today. We’ll have those discussions starting next week.
Senior Defense Official: Just as things that NATO does certainly have an impact on the EU, things that the EU is doing inside the EU have an impact on NATO and on the transatlantic relationship.
Q: Well, you know all Europeans are fully aware of these cracks about old Europe and chocolate makers and cheese makers. You think that’s making it harder to talk them out setting up their own headquarters?
Senior Administration Official: The vast majority of members of the European Union do not favor attempts to separate NATO and the EU. There was a meeting in Rome a month ago of the 25 EU countries, and 21 of them at that meeting said, “ We don’t want to create this Tervuren headquarters. We don’t want separate institutions. We want to keep the NATO-EU relationship together.”
Q: The insults coming from Washington are one of the reasons that they’re inclined to go on their own?
Senior Administration Official: I think, as I said, I’m at NATO everyday. I sit around the table with all these ambassadors. The great majority of them want a continuing vibrant relationship with the United States based in NATO. And I don’t think that any kind of disagreements that we’ve had publicly or privately months ago are having much of an impact on that debate now. I don’t agree with that.
Q: Has …
Moderator: Before we do that, [senior defense official], did you have something you wanted to say before we get into questions?
Senior Defense Official: No.
Senior Defense Official: Yes, I do, but I thought we were kind of into questions already.
Q: Has the SecDef had, or does he plan to have while he’s here, bilats with the French and German Defense Ministers to try to iron out some of these problems over NATO, Iraq, the EU?
Senior Defense Official: The Secretary has, I think, at last count, about ten bilats scheduled.
Senior Defense Official: Over … he’s already had a number of them. He’s already met with his Czech colleague, his Polish colleague, his colleague from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Senior Administration Official: Norway.
Senior Defense Official: … and Norway. He’ll be meeting with his German colleague. He’ll be meeting, I believe, with his Turkish colleague.
Senior Administration Official: Italian …
Senior Defense Official: Italian. Some of these have been, actually are meetings for the first time, first bilaterals, because you’ve had new ministers or they haven’t been able to meet before.
Q: And France?
Senior Defense Official: At this point, he does not have a meeting scheduled with the French colleague.
Senior Administration Official: But let me just say the way this whole meeting is constructed, they’re having – they spent all day together, they’re having dinner tonight, they have tomorrow, there’ll be an opportunity to talk.
Q: Could I ask a parochial British question? Prime Minister Blair is settling with Schroeder and Chirac. Last week, two weeks ago it seemed to put this whole EU thing back on the table – at least he expressed some interest in it there. Did the Secretary raise that at all with Mr. Hoon, and is there any concern in the Pentagon that Britain, perhaps is not realizing how seriously you guys take this?
Senior Defense Official: As I said, I would not regard this as a concern of the Pentagon. I think this is a concern of the US government. It is a concern that is reflected in every agency that views these … [senior administration official] and I come from different Departments, but don’t come from a different place on this. Clearly, they discussed this issue. ESDP is, and our relationship with the British, generally we regard our ability to talk to the British about these issues; to be able to express our concerns – I think the British take very seriously those concerns – so, yes. I wouldn’t want to get into the details of their conversation, but I think yes, it was part of their conversation and I think it will also continue to be part of the US-UK dialogue on this issue.
Let me also say that he’s raised it with every other Minister that he has talked to as well. So it is not (crosstalk) … it is nothing unique to the UK. It’s simply looking at this issue from the standpoint of the long-term health of the Alliance and trying to give our allies our best judgment and our best views on what the problems are.
Q: But, sir, would you say that you share the British view about this issue of European headquarters today? There is no discuss … there is no divergence on this between the US and UK?
Senior Defense Official: I, for one, would not want to characterize the UK view on this.
Senior Administration Official: Only to say … only just to repeat a very important point that we sense at this meeting, and in the past couple of weeks, the vast majority of EU countries want to maintain Berlin Plus and the integrity of Berlin Plus. So we sense a lot of support.
Q: The question Ambassador, surely is: do you think that Berlin Plus is contradictory of the question of operating a European facility to conduct a military operation?
Senior Administration Official: Not at all. Berlin Plus speaks about it. Our interest in supporting the EU and developing the capacity to act on its own, when NATO is not engaged, in a security question. That’s what it is all about. It’s a very positive relationship. It essentially says: “We support the evolution of a stronger EU militarily. We support that, but we also want to maintain support for NATO’s integrity and our cooperative relationship with the EU. We think that is what’s at stake.
Senior Defense Official: We very pointedly want to avoid duplication of effort. As the senior administration official pointed out: We spent a lot of time trying to reform the NATO Command structure both to make it more deployable, as well as to bring it down to a size that was more commensurate with the needs of the Alliance. We don’t need a duplicate set of structures. And so when we seen that kind of activity developing, we think it’s important that we talk to Allies about it and let them know that.
Q: Is the Secretary going to meet with Ivanov tomorrow?
Senior Defense Official: Yes.
Q: Bilateral. And does he, also, hope for, wish for an explanation of this whole nuclear business? That Putin could, you know, possibly use Russian nukes according to the report that came out … or that Russia might be considering or was leaving open the possibility of using the nukes in a terrorist situation or against terrorist states -- preemptive strike?.
Senior Defense Official: I think one of the aspects of our new relationship and our dialogue with the Russians has been to talk about nuclear issues. We talked about them from the standpoint of our own nuclear capabilities. We’ve talked about them in the conduct of negotiations having to do with the Moscow Treaty. We’ve … I’ve briefed, for example, the Russians on our own nuclear posture. Clearly, I think it is one of the aspects of transparency, if you will, that we encourage not only in areas where we have arms treaties or arms reduction treaties, but writ large. I think the Secretary General said today, there are usually numerous reports and leaks and things that come out on the subject. I am very hopeful that tomorrow in the NATO-Russia Council perhaps, or even in the bilats, we may get Sergei Ivanov’s take on this, which I think will be a useful input. But I wouldn’t characterize it as a major part of the discussion tomorrow. I think more of the discussion will focus on issues having to do with on-going operations and issues having to do with defense reform more broadly in Russia.
Q: It’s obvious that the most important thing about EU-NATO relations is the military commitment. And I think that the problem is not appreciating the governments but the public opinions of Europe. That is the key. What are you doing about it?
Senior Administration Official: I would say that this whole meeting is, mainly, very positive. I think the way our Secretary has approached today, and will approach tomorrow, is that NATO has come a long way. We’ve made tremendous strides. We are a stronger organization that we have ever been before. And we sense and we feel the tremendous support throughout the European Allies. I think that’s important to return to that. I don’t think these disagreements with the four countries over EU-NATO relations are affected by public opinion and I don’t get the sense of that.
Q: You know (inaudible) you know I speak with (inaudible) and they say they would like to raise the issue but can’t because of public opinion. You see what happened in Britain with Tony Blair.
Senior Administration Official: Tremendous support in the European public opinion poll that I have seen for what we are doing in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, what NATO is doing. Those are our three principle operations outside Europe, outside of the NATO area.
Senior Defense Official: If I could just say one quick thing on that. One of the reasons we are here is to try to let you know so that you can write stories and when you go back people in the various European …
Senior Defense Official: Absolutely, absolutely. One of the reasons that NATO has such a public aspect to it is to try to continue to maintain that support. But I would say that over across the Alliance, there continues to be very broad support for NATO, and understanding that NATO – and the transatlantic connection that it represents – are important things. But another thing we are doing and that’s a good segue into what I wanted to say is to talk a little bit about …
Q: Can I follow-up on his question real quick?
Senior Defense Official: I never get a chance to do that (laughter). I was going to talk about the exercise, but you guys don’t want to know, I’m not giving up all our secrets (general laughter). No I won’t do it. I know you guys would rather do this. I’m kidding, go ahead.
Q: Why would the Russians explain their nuclear posture to you all? And if it is identical or similar to the US nuclear posture, is that ok with you guys? In other words, if they say to you, “Our nuclear posture is the same as what the United States has put out. We will do exactly, our posture, our approach to using nuclear weapons is the same as what the United States has said …”
Senior Defense Official: I would be very surprised if tomorrow we were to get into any level of details on that subject that I would be even able to answer that question. So I think it’s rather hypothetical…
Q: It is rather hypothetical, but today we just had a hypothetical working …
Senior Defense Official: No, no. I’m just saying that that’s going to happen.
Q: But you said you were going to ask him what his take is on the report.
Senior Defense Official: No, I said it may come up.
Senior Defense Official: I certainly won’t be in a position to answer the question. But I think one of the things that is a central tenet that came out of our nuclear posture was that Russia was no longer an enemy, and that we were not going to be focusing our capabilities and the retention of nuclear capability -- which we still think are an important part, not only of the US capability, but of the Alliance capability -- that we were not going to be focusing that on Russia. We were going be sizing our forces based on contingencies involving Russia, and that the Cold War focus of trying to deal with that problem through long, rigorous, negotiated arms control treaties that were 50 to 100 pages long is something that is no longer necessary. And you look at that in what both President Bush and President were able to achieve under enormously rapid circumstances with a very short simple treaty that I think demonstrates a degree of trust in the relationship that hasn’t been there before. To bring the deploying forces down to very, very low levels over the next decade. So, those are the kinds of things I think are the benefits of the kinds of conversations we’ve had with the Russians on this subject and we hope gain those benefits in other areas of the relationship.
Q: Sneak it in?
Senior Defense Official: I want to talk a little bit about the exercise seminar we did today. What I would say is that, and this goes a little bit to your question about what are we trying to do to make NATO better, maybe, and hopefully make it better make the publics understand a little bit. We worked with NATO very closely in designing this exercise seminar, that was really designed to sort of say ‘now that we’ve put in place the things that were mentioned by the senior administration official, the NRF, standing up; we have commitments to developing certain new kinds of capabilities that will improve the deployability of the Alliance; we are reforming the command structure. Based on those inputs, that have really been accomplished over the last year, we felt we needed to get a seminar together that would expose the Ministers to issues that would in fact come up in the event that a NATO Response Force was called on. It’s very easy to say we’re going to develop a capability that can be ready in five to thirty days. But when you think about the time frames of having to make decisions, all the way from political decisions -- which involve parliaments, they involve cabinets, they’re multinational -- all the way down to sort of military decisions, in terms of talking about rules of engagement, and those sorts of things. Those kinds of issues needed to get on the table.
The Alliance never had to think that through before, because we were thinking about primarily static defense, it was Article 5. Does everyone know what that means? “Defense of one’s own territory.” And the enemy was coming to you, on to your territory, and you were defending, so you’re –the kinds of national decisions that might have to be made in that circumstance, I think, are very different than if you’re deploying over seas.
So, the Dynamic Response ‘07, as it was called, was an exercise seminar, and I use those terms, because it was not a traditional military exercise, in that it was not designed to test some piece of equipment or some particular mode of doing things. It was designed to run them through an exercise that would then expose questions and other problems that we would have to work through. It was based on a very unpredictable security environment. NATO is going to have to face multiple, possibly simultaneous, contingencies in the future. And I’ll talk a little bit about that in a second.
There would be fast-breaking asymmetric and multi-dimensional threats that would evolve over a very quick time frame. And there would be a greater need to sort of assert control over events, less time for deliberation, than there was in the past. Another theme that came out of this was that – and we’ve seen this in looking in Afghanistan and others; the future problems are going to be not WMD, but terrorism and the problem of ungoverned areas. Areas that can in fact become hospitable to terrorists and the like. This scenario was also designed to underscore the need for a really comprehensive transformation, not only NATO capabilities, but the planning and decision-making structures and really the NATO culture. Culture is the last thing that always changes. It is the hardest thing to change in any organization, is the mindset and the culture. It’s going to take time to do that, but what we saw today I think from the Ministers was a real commitment to do that. And to go back to their capitals and not only look at this from a standpoint of how NATO has to change, but also to look at it from the standpoint of how, at a national level, they’ve got to look at their own processes in terms of being able to contribute to this.
We talked about the NRF, highlighted some of the capabilities that would be necessary in that and the like. So, basically, if I can give you kind of a thumbnail on what this was: It was a scenario that was really based initially around a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation. Everybody knows what that is? A NEO as they call it. It was designed not to get into the thorny political issues of consent and UN and that sort of thing. We assumed consent of the country, the legitimate authority in the country. We assumed that there was UN support and those sorts of things. But rather to get into the more difficult Ministry of Defense kind of questions of: how quickly would you be able to react to this NEO? And then what other things might occur? So, I kind of coined a term for this, I don’t know, is NEO gone bad -- which is when you get into a situation, it may not be the situation that you first thought you were getting into.
And so, what the scenario did, was it really progressed to greater and greater levels of complexity and difficulty, including even in the end, an Article Five threat to NATO countries, where they were threatened with WMD and threatened with a missile capability off the coast. The Ministers had to play through the complexity of really, a situation in a fictitious country fairly far away from NATO, but at the same time deal with a threat that was emerging directly to NATO itself, and the interaction between those threats. And in a time frame that made it a very compressed time frame.
The outcome, as I said, was a great discussion among ministers, a sense that this kind of activity or these kinds of activities need to go on here at NATO to prepare for the kinds of things in the future. Some looks broadly at how NATO deals with its rules of engagement, decision-making processes and the like, will be undertaken over the next year. It was a very positive experience, and one that we will build on over the next couple of years.
Q: Let’s be a bit more specific (crosstalk) … this missile threat off the coast, was it a possible threat from a cruise missile from a rust bucket freighter, or something that you didn’t know where it might come from, but that might be the situation a cruise missile threat off –when you say off the coast?
Senior Defense Official: It was both cruise and ballistic and it was off the coast, but it was not from a surface combatant. It was in fact from a freighter type.
Moderator: Two more.
Q: Will you actually do another one of these?
Senior Defense Official: No decision has been made on that, but I think people are kind of in the mode of having to process this one and see what needs to be done as a result of it. But I think, my sense is that NATO is eager to do more of this kind of thing. Is that fair enough?
Senior Administration Official: Yes, I think the reaction across the board was tremendously positive because it exposed some of the critical military issues that we’ve got to now attack as an Alliance: time that was required to make a decision to deploy. If there is a crisis, how fast can you react? And so Robertson said at the end of the meeting this afternoon, just a little while ago, he said, he listed the six major issues that came out of the exercise and said: Let’s send that back the Ambassadors in Brussels. Let’s have them develop some proposals to streamline all these processes and get them back to the Defense Ministers in the first week of December in Brussels, themselves.
It was a very positive reaction from a lot of the Ministers who were there, including the French and German, and Rumsfeld. They all agreed that it was very …
Q: Nobody objected to doing it again? Or suggested it shouldn’t be done?
Senior Administration Official: No, on the contrary.
Senior Defense Official: No, not at all. Very engaged, very animated. I mean, I’ve been through a lot of these meetings and this was among the most animated discussion I’ve ever seen. [crosstalk] Pardon me?
Q: As the scenario unfolded, was there serious dissention among the Ministers or the CHODS [Chiefs of Defense] about the way it went?
Senior Defense Official: No. Not at all. Again the purpose of this was not … because it was a fictitious scenario and all that, but the purpose was not …
Q: but the (inaudible) along the way?
Senior Defense Official: Actually it wasn’t structured that way. They had a discussion about what were the implications of each vignette. This was rolled out in a series of vignettes. And then they had discussions about the implications of each vignette, and then a decision was made for them, effectively, and then the game moved on. See, so that way, we didn’t get bogged down in decisions, but were able -- because since it’s fictitious, the decisions are irrelevant, but we were able -- to capture a lot of what we think will be sort of generic questions.
Just so you understand completely, it was a NEO [Noncombatant Evacuation Operation] that then progressed to something that might have required a larger intervention in the country at the request of that country. Then, as a result of that, turned into a potential Article 5 threat.
Q: They were late, the same group … in Kumar …
Senior Defense Official: It was a terrorist threat that also turned out to have some capabilities that the Alliance was unaware of.
Q: You said WMD that all three of those, nuclear, chem or bio? Was it?
Senior Defense Official: I think at least chem., at least chem., and they were suspected maybe to have bio. But there was no nuclear at all.
Senior Administration Official: One more point to answer Tom’s question. While we didn’t drive this exercise to a conclusion and decision, by the end, I certainly sensed that everybody agreed that NATO had to be active in opposing this threat. In fact, many of the Ministers said that. But we didn’t drive it to a decision, so there was absolutely no dissention in that respect.
Moderator: Jamie, yours is going to have to be the last one. These gentlemen are out of time.
Q: Was this all planned by the Pentagon, the United States, or were other countries involved?
Senior Defense Official: No, it was put together -- there was an international staff headed by a Norwegian that worked in conjunction with Allied Command Transformation. The US certainly contributed greatly to it, obviously because of the connection with Joint Forces Command. The NATO Secretary General’s office was involved in this. The International Military Staff, the International Staff, were involved all the way along in sort of designing the various aspects of the scenario.
Q: Was this to drive home the need for these capabilities you’ve been talking about. Was it illustrate in a graphic way why NATO needed the capabilities it’s trying to acquire?
Senior Defense Official: I think it was more designed … NATO has already decided the capabilities that it needs. That’s behind us, although implementing it is in front of us. This was designed to say: With those capabilities there are still questions and issues in terms of decision making, streamlining our structures and our processes, going back to capitals and thinking through the implications of this from the standpoint of getting national contributions to the NRF [NATO Response Force]. For example, if you are a country and you’ve got an NRF contribution, you have to expect that that force might be used within five to thirty days. Do you have a domestic political process that can deal with that? A lot of food for thought was generated that people are going to take back to capitals.
Senior Administration Official: If I can just add to that, the real focus of this was the NATO Response Force. How would you deploy it? What are its strengths? What are the current limitations? It was proposed a year ago last week by Secretary Rumsfeld at Warsaw. It was agreed to in Prague and next Tuesday, the first element of it is actually going to be stood up in the Netherlands. We have gone in twelve months from an idea to a force. So, the exercise was designed to say: “How could you use it? And how could you use it more effectively?” NATO has never had this capacity. We’ve been this big, huge military machine designed to fight a continental war. Now, because of the WMD and terrorism threat, we’ve got to have a much more flexible, expeditionary force capable of responding to immediate threats. That is what this exercise looked at.
Moderator: An excellent point to end on. Thank you.
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