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Review Calls for Stronger Cooperation

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2010 – A network of strong relationships -- with U.S. allies and partners around the world as well as civilian partners at home -– is critical to executing the Defense Department’s long-term strategy, as spelled out in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the undersecretary of defense for policy said here today.

“America must increasingly integrate its efforts with others to help promote prosperity and security,” Michele Flournoy told the Council on Foreign Relations. “We need to emphasize cooperation more in everything we do – to think more deeply about what our allies and partners abroad and civilian partners at home can bring to the table.”

She pointed to operations in Afghanistan, where 40,000 international troops serve alongside U.S. forces, as an example of the contributions traditional allies and new partners make, and on which the United States depends.

While the United States has always worked with other nations to advance common goals, Flournoy predicted that American interest in building a network of alliances and partnerships will only increase over time.

“Over the course of the last eight years, we’ve been reminded that our ability to project and sustain power abroad depends not only on technology, but on regional allies and partners who provide access, regional expertise and intelligence,” she said.

“You can’t surge trust in a contingency,” Flournoy continued. “And you can’t quickly build a partnership that you have neglected.”

The 2010 QDR recognizes the need to tailor regional defense postures with the right mix of capabilities, agreements and relationships to be more responsive to the regional security environment, she noted.

Flournoy called for more combined training, cooperation that builds partners’ security capability, and increased multilateral efforts to assure access to the global commons, which includes the maritime, cyberspace and space domains.

Meanwhile, Flournoy emphasized the importance of strengthening the interagency process and relationships with civilian partners at home.

“DoD is in a supporting role in much of what we do, and we need to continue working toward whole-of-government approaches to many challenges,” she said.

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Michele Flournoy

Related Sites:
Quadrennial Defense Review

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