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Security Cooperation Essential to DoD Mission, Deputy Secretary Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2006 – Partnerships and cooperation with allies and friendly nations are essential for the U.S. to address threats in the global war on terrorism, the deputy defense secretary said here today.

The U.S. faces a wider array of threats and a more uncertain future than ever before, and no single country can stand up to these threats and win alone, Gordon England said at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency Worldwide Conference.

To meet the diverse security challenges of the future, DoD must strengthen and adapt long-term alliances, as well as form relationships with new international partners, enabling them to enhance their capabilities, England said. To that end, DoD supports such efforts as the evolution of NATO and the Proliferation Security Initiative, which includes more than 70 nations, he said.

"Effective multinational efforts are essential to solve the problems we face together," he said.

Within the Quadrennial Defense Review, DoD addressed these issues of international cooperation and security assistance, England said. The department evaluated its security assistance practices and determined they needed to be refined, he said. The transfer of technology and the export of equipment are often hindered by security reviews. And while these procedures are necessary for the security of the U.S., delays in the process affect America's relationship with its partners, he said.

"The goal is to have better effectiveness and, through it, better efficiency," he said.

To further help international partnerships, DoD is taking steps to make itself a better partner, England said. Language skills and cultural awareness are being integrated into the military and DoD is working to ensure it will continue to learn from security partnerships, he said.

DoD is creating a new center that will analyze and institutionalize lessons learned by the military on the ground and from coalition partners, he said. This center, the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance, will be based at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., under Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who was the first commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.

In the QDR, the Defense Department also asked Congress for new authorities to help strengthen international partnerships, England said. The QDR includes a request for the DoD to be able to provide logistics support to allies and coalition partners for military operations in which they are participating with U.S. forces, he said. DoD is also requesting authority to lease and lend significant military equipment to allies in the same situations, he said.

To fulfill its strategic vision, DoD must also partner with academic and think-tank institutions and must stay ahead of the technology curve, England said.

The U.S. has the right strategy to win in the war on terrorism, England said, but the support of national and international partners is essential for that vision to become reality.

"This is a war of resolve, determination and commitment in terms of our national security," he said. "This is a necessary unity of action and will if we are to prevail in this long war."

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Gordon England

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