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  LIbrary Treaties The North Atlantic Treaty, Testimony of Franklin D. Kramer, April 21, 1999

Testimony of The Honorable Franklin D. Kramer
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

Made before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Subcommittee on European Affairs

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April 21, 1999

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I welcome the opportunity to appear before you today. Recent events over the past few weeks underscore the vitality of the NATO Alliance, an Alliance designed to achieve peace, freedom, and democracy through a collective strength derived from the robust defense capabilities of its members.

Summit Goals

At the Summit, Allied leaders will approve a revised Strategic Concept that reflects the present and foreseeable security environment and focuses on transforming the defense capabilities of the Alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century. While collective defense continues to be the core function of the Alliance, future missions should include "out-of-area" contingencies such as Bosnia and Kosovo, which threaten the overall strategic stability of Europe. They should also include readiness to respond to threats such as those posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and by terrorism. Both the fighting in Kosovo as well as the proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them demonstrates that the Alliance must prepare its military capabilities so it can act when required.

As you know, in taking any such NATO action, it is our strong belief that UN Security Council resolutions mandating or authorizing NATO efforts are not required as a matter of international law - and, as the Kosovo situation has shown, that view is widely shared in the Alliance. NATO's actions have been and will remain consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations - a proposition reflected in the Washington Treaty itself. The United States will not accept any statement in the new Strategic Concept that would require a UN Security Council resolution for NATO to act.

To ensure that the Alliance has the means, as well as the doctrine, to deal with the full range of possible challenges, Secretary Cohen proposed a Defense Capabilities Initiative last June and September to transform the Alliance's defense capabilities to meet future security challenges. The Defense Capabilities Initiative has as its foundation a Common Operational Vision. That vision emphasizes development of forces that have four core defense capabilities of mobility, effective engagement, sustainability, and survivability. NATO's revised Strategic Concept will include this common operational vision.

We have likewise sponsored a WMD initiative to address the growing risks to Allied populations, territory and forces posed by the continuing spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery. Additionally, we have sought to ensure that the Alliance can do its part in dealing with risks of terrorism. The Summit will lay the groundwork for NATO to use military capabilities to help deal with terrorism. Key issues will be: force protection - as Khobar Towers demonstrates; responding to terrorist acts; reducing the effects of terrorist attacks; and sharing information among militaries so they are able to protect themselves and to respond.

Achieving the Goals

Some have asked what practical difference the new Strategic Concept will make? Or, put another way, why will Allies suddenly begin to transform their capabilities now to meet this "common operational vision" when even the 1991 Strategic Concept called for changes in mobility and flexibility? The US has made substantial strides because we have always had to be mobile. Our logistics and communications capabilities are designed to be deployed. The ability to engage with precision - be it with PGMs or humanitarian aid continue to be the hallmarks of US military operations.

Allied Progress thus Far

There have been several important and encouraging developments that have demonstrated our Allies' commitment to the transformation of NATO to meet the challenges of the future. Key European leaders are personally committed to the process. Last autumn, Prime Minister Tony Blair called for a Europe able to speak with one voice and possessing military means to back up its decisions. He has said, "European defense is not about new institutional fixes. It is about new capabilities, both military and diplomatic." He has also said, "To retain US engagement in Europe, it is important that Europe does more for itself. A Europe with a greater capacity to act will strengthen both the European Union and the Alliance as a whole." German Defense Minister Scharping has suggested deliberations on a strategic reconnaissance capability to be created by European NATO states as well as a strategic air transport component that would also be available for independent European operations.

More importantly, key European Allies have begun to match their words with action. Last July, the UK completed their Strategic Defense Review, laying out the structure of their forces leading into the next century. The UK will lease four strategic C-17 or equivalent transport aircraft beginning in 2001. Strategic sea lift for rapid deployment of forces will be enhanced by the acquisition of 6 "roll-on roll-off" ships (two are already funded) in 2000.

Similarly, the Germans and Italians are undertaking major military restructuring efforts which, when completed, will provide NATO with highly mobile and capable units ready to undertake a wide range of roles and missions. French forces have been undergoing substantial changes since 1995 in order to make them more mobile and deployable, and better able to carry out the Alliance's new missions.

The Alliance has approved - and the Summit will underscore - the importance of a capabilities-based focus to a European Security and Defense Identity which emphasizes the need for greater efforts to develop European forces capable of dealing with regional crises. ESDI done right will lead to a more balanced partnership in any future operations.

Defense Capabilities "In Practice"

The Strategic Concept and the Defense Capabilities Initiative provide the political and military guidance for NATO defense planners - the blueprint - or, if you will, the theory. Kosovo provides a real-world example of NATO forces rising to the challenge of repression and inhumanity to secure peace, freedom, and democracy. Kosovo is an application of the Strategic Concept and the Defense Capabilities Initiative - or, if you will, the practice.

NATO's operations in Kosovo - as well as in Bosnia - highlight the importance of the key elements of the Defense Capabilities Initiative - mobility, sustainability, survivability and precision engagement. Kosovo demonstrates that, to achieve its objective, NATO must be able to get to the problem, to attack effectively with precision munitions, to sustain the effort and to be survivable in a hostile environment. What we have been able to do in Kosovo has been substantial. The Alliance has promptly deployed for the air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia some 700 aircraft (over half of them US), and more will likely be added. These forces have been highly effective in the conduct of the air campaign. Likewise, the Alliance has deployed since 1995 a substantial peacekeeping force in Bosnia. In contrast to Kosovo, nearly 80% of SFOR, and nearly 100% of the NATO forces currently serving on the ground in the Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, are European and Canadian. The SFOR air component of 117 NATO aircraft for Bosnia reflects a contribution of 18 US planes and 99 European and Canadian craft.

Despite the demonstrated vitality of the Alliance, Operation Allied Force also illustrates the striking need for the Defense Capabilities Initiative. While thirteen Allies are participating in air operations in and around Kosovo, the U.S. is shouldering the greatest proportion of the operation, particularly as the military effort intensifies. As Italian PM D'Alema has noted, Europe spends 60% of what the U.S. spends on defense, but only enjoys 10% of the capabilities. This is what the Defense Capabilities Initiative is designed to change.


During the Summit we will continue to be engaged in Kosovo. The Alliance is firmly committed to ending the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and to providing a safe and secure environment for those who have been displaced. We have read a sad litany of war crimes or violations of international humanitarian law in Kosovo: ethnic cleansing; the detention and execution of military-aged men (tens of thousands unaccounted for); the wanton destruction of villages and towns across Kosovo; and the forcible displacement of over 1 million ethnic Albanians.

There should be no question as to what the US and its NATO Allies intend to accomplish by taking action in Kosovo: a verifiable stop to all military action and the immediate end of violence and repression; withdrawal from Kosovo of all Serb military, police and paramilitary forces; restoration of order there by stationing of an international peacekeeping force with NATO as its core; unconditional and safe return of all refugees and displaced persons as well as unhindered access to them by humanitarian aid organizations; and the establishment of a democratic political framework agreement for Kosovo, in conformity with international law. Our principal priority, in conjunction with the air campaign, is to ensure that the refugees have food, shelter and required care.

One area in which our Allies are contributing the lions' share of resources is in the humanitarian effort on the periphery of Kosovo. On my recent trip to the refugee camps in and around Skopje and in meeting with General Jackson, the UK Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Force, I observed how strongly engaged our Allies are in this mission. NATO solidarity is indeed a reality.

No one can be sure when this campaign will end. But we must win. It is vital that we stay the course. This means not only through military power but also through our humanitarian efforts with both Allies and Partners. This brings me to my last connection among the Strategic Concept, the upcoming Summit, and Kosovo: the relationship between NATO and its Partners. Current operations include the cooperation of Partners (for example, port facilities; over-flight rights). The Partnership for Peace (PFP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) have given us the ability to call upon partners easily and to consult regularly with them. Any post-conflict implementation force will utilize the participation of NATO partners, underscoring the need for the Summit initiatives designed to guide partner participation in planning, deciding, and implementing certain Alliance missions. We will also announce at the Summit a plan to upgrade the forces that partners will have available for future NATO-led operations. The result will be to give partners a political stake in the process and to give NATO wider military options involving partners.


Kosovo illustrates the complexities of the evolving security situation in Europe. It represents not only a challenge but also an opportunity for us to solidify NATO's role as the principal institution for transatlantic political and military engagement in Europe, and the source of stability and security for the Euro-Atlantic region for the next fifty years. Kosovo is an acknowledgement of our basic position that NATO should be the instrument of choice when we and our Allies decide to act together militarily.

In sum, we are determined to maintain the Alliance's freedom of action and transform its defense capabilities to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We are determined to use those capabilities to achieve the values and objectives of the Alliance. The NATO Summit and its associated initiatives will set us firmly on course to build a new NATO for the new century