The Department of Defense announced today that ministers of defense from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States will explore a multinational purchase of precision guided munitions (PGMs).
The objective of this cooperative effort is to decrease costs to participants while significantly increasing their precision strike air-to-ground capabilities. This initiative, led by the Dutch, helps achieve one of the key goals of NATO's Defense Capabilities Initiative, the requirement for allies to conduct air operations while minimizing collateral damage.
The group aims to demonstrate that, in accordance with the Defense Capabilities Initiative, the European allies are dedicated to optimizing available resources and to strengthening the European pillar of NATO.
The United States strongly supports this initiative on several grounds. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has stressed four key points.
"First, the U.S. has long encouraged the North Atlantic alliance to strengthen its European pillar," said Cohen. "Second, the U.S. has urged its allies to pool their efforts as a means to maximize precious defense resources.
"Since the Kosovo campaign, the U.S. has pressed its NATO allies to improve their precision strike capabilities in order to better share the responsibilities in the event of a future air operation.
"Finally, the U.S. sees this consortium of nations as an excellent opportunity to showcase the recently-announced defense licensing and export control reforms, which are meant to enable closer trans-Atlantic defense cooperation," said Cohen.