Military-to-Military Ties Strengthen America's Security
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 2, 2002 Making and keeping military-to- military ties with foreign nations is important to U.S. national security, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said at the Pentagon today.
Rumsfeld and Malaysian Defense Minister Dato' Sri Najib bin Abdul Razak met reporters together this morning. Rumsfeld said he'd had an "excellent meeting" earlier with his Malaysian counterpart and noted that the Razak had invited him to visit Malaysia later this year.
Military-to-military ties with Malaysia, Rumsfeld said, have "evolved, strengthened and improved" since they were established in the mid-1980s.
"One item I would cite," he said, "is that there have been something in the neighborhood of 1,500 of the officers and personnel from the Malaysian armed forces that have been participating in the IMET program."
America's International Military Training and Education program, for example, gives people from other countries a chance to attend military schools in the United States, he said. They "develop personal relationships and see how our military functions in a professional way with civilian control," he said. "Linkages last over careers."
The secretary said he has been "a great believer in the military-to-military relationships that the United States has developed with other countries over the decades. I have seen many, many instances where it has enormously benefited our country."
Rumsfeld said he was impressed with the extent to which Malaysia is a cooperating partner in the global war on terrorism. He applauded steps Malaysia is taking to combat terrorist activities.
Razak told reporters U.S.-Malaysian military-to-military ties are at "an all-time high today." "I am delighted that we are cooperating, collaborating, with the United States and with other countries on the global war against terror."
"Malaysia is resolute and steadfast in our fight against global terror," Razak said, noting that his nation has arrested about 62 militants and terrorists. Malaysia cooperates with its neighbors, he added, and enjoys excellent exchanges of military intelligence with the United States and other allies and friends.
"We have approved more than 1,000 overflights per year by the United States," he noted, "and the number has increased quite dramatically since Sept. 11."
Malaysia also has opened some of its training facilities to U.S. military personnel, he said. U.S. Navy Seals train there twice a year and U.S. Special Forces train in Malaysia's jungle warfare training school.