NATO Summit to Focus on Outreach, Transformation
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
ISTANBUL, Turkey, June 26, 2004 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived here today to attend the NATO Istanbul Summit, the 17th in NATO's history.
The secretary will join President Bush and heads of state and government from NATO's 26 member nations during sessions scheduled through June 29. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, also will be part of the U.S. delegation.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the summit will follow two tracks: outreach to partners, and internal work on the organization's transformation.
NATO member nations are expected to make decisions on a wide range of issues, including:
- Further expanding NATO's presence in Afghanistan, allowing the alliance to play a key role in supporting the upcoming elections;
- Strengthening and expanding the alliance's partnerships, also with its Mediterranean partners;
- Ending NATO's mission in Bosnia by the end of the year; and
- Delivering on essential aspects of NATO's military transformation, including the NATO Response Force, new airlift and sealift capabilities and a counter-terrorism package.
In a speech earlier this month at the Center for European Reform, the secretary-general said the summit will demonstrate "that the transatlantic community remains a powerful force for positive change."
"It will highlight just how much NATO is shaping international security for the better, including by shaping security where allies agree it is necessary. And it will help to shape our alliance, so it remains as effective in the future as it is today," he said.
Scheffer told a conference organized by the New Defense Agenda that countering threats where and when necessary has become the precondition for security in today's world.
"Territorial defense remains a core function, but we simply can no longer protect our security without addressing the potential risks and threats that arise far from our homes," he said. "Either we tackle these problems when and where they emerge, or they will end up on our doorsteps."