Remarks by Secretary of Defense William J. Perry at Closing Ceremony, Exercise
Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Thursday, August 29, 1996
Today, after more than four decades of Cold War, we are
building a new Europe.
A Europe in which all people -- from the
Atlantic to the Urals, indeed including Central Asian Republics -
- can be free, prosperous and secure.
On these fields, in the
sweat of your brows, in all that you have learned, and in the
friends that you have made, you are building that new Europe.
As we bring COOPERATIVE OSPREY to a close, we celebrate more
than what our troops have accomplished on these fields in these
past three weeks.
We also celebrate what our nations have
accomplished over the past two years by making Partnership for
Peace the most successful security institution in Europe since
the creation of NATO.
Together, we have conducted more than a thousand Partnership
exercises and activities, each building on the success of the
I have seen this success for myself at Fort Polk,
Louisiana, at Cooperative Nugget, the first major Partnership for
Peace exercise on U.S. soil, just a year ago.
I have seen this
success at L'viv, Ukraine, this spring, at Peace Shield 96, the
first major Partnership for Peace exercise on the soil of the
former Soviet Union.
And I see this success today here at Camp
Lejeune, in COOPERATIVE OSPREY, which is certainly the most
sophisticated, the most successful Partnership for Peace exercise
What I have seen on these training fields --
the spirit, the skill and the bonds forged in common cause -- has
never failed to impress me.
In making the Partnership for Peace a success, you have
exceeded our fondest dreams.
We conceived the partnership as a
way for NATO to reach out to the newly independent nations of
Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
wanted to create a network of people and institutions that train,
exercise and work together along with the NATO nations.
this network, NATO hoped to help our Partners pursue the road to
To build professional military forces under civilian
And to build trust, understanding and cooperation
between and among nations.
And for those nations that eventually
wanted to join NATO, the partnership would provide the proving
grounds to meet the responsibilities of membership.
The goal in
all these efforts was to build a new zone of security and
stability stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals and beyond.
At first, the Partnership for Peace had many skeptics.
Some said it was too vague, or too tentative.
countries would never support it.
That the Cold War chasms were
too old and too deep.
That East was East and West was West and
that never the twain would meet.
We have proved the skeptics wrong.
Today, the flags of 16
NATO nations and 27 Partner nations fly proudly together over the
Partnership headquarters in Belgium.
Partner nations are making
progress on the road to democracy.
Partner nations are building
professional military forces under civilian control.
nations are proving they can meet the responsibilities of NATO
Together, we are bridging the Cold War chasms,
building a new zone of stability in Europe.
And we are putting
together what we have learned into practice, working together in
a real multinational operation in Bosnia, where we are giving
peace a chance to endure in the heart of Europe.
George Bernard Shaw once wrote, Some men see things as they
are and ask why?' I dream things that never were and ask why
not?' You soldiers, the troops of COOPERATIVE OSPREY, are
daring to dream.
You are looking over the horizon to a new era
of freedom and peace -- and asking why not? I commend you for
making COOPERATIVE OSPREY the most successful Partnership
exercise ever, for making the Partnership for Peace a successful
security institution, and for making our world a safer place for
our children and for our grandchildren.