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Shelton Signs Cooperation Plan With Russians

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2000 – The top U.S. and Russian military leaders signed the 2001 Plan of Cooperation that sets out how the two militaries will work together.

Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Anatoliy Kvashnin, chief of the Russian general staff, signed the plan Dec. 12. The plan is an important part of engagement between the two countries. During a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev agreed the plan could help reduce what Sergeyev called the permafrost in U.S.-Russian relations.

The plan is divided into three parts: visits by Russian military delegations to the United States, visits by U.S. military delegations to the Russia, and major combined exercises and exchanges at various command levels.

For example, the commander of the U.S. Army XVIII Airborne Corps will visit the commander of Russian airborne forces next summer. In another visit under the plan, the commander of Russias Strategic 37th Air Army of the Supreme High Command will travel to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to meet the commander of the 8th Air Force.

The Russians are to participate in an arctic search and rescue exercise with U.S. and Canadian units. They also will also observe BALTOPS 01, an annual summertime exercise held in the Baltic Sea.

The two countries will also participate in an officer exchange program. U.S. and Russian officials will work out the details of the exchange program.

The idea of working together is not new. In 1988, the chairman, Navy Adm. William Crowe, worked out a plan of cooperation with his Soviet counterpart, General of the Army Sergei Akhromeyev. This annual program of contacts grew out of a desire on the part of both militaries to improve planning through the setting of a formal agenda.

The program covers the significant U.S. and Russian military-to-military contacts. Other possible interaction during the year include medical exchanges, environmental cooperation, cooperative threat reduction efforts and ongoing U.S. and Russian operations in Bosnia and Kosovo.

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