Thank you, Patrick [O’Donnell, President, Canadian Defence Industries Association] for your warm words and for your invitation to be here this evening. Industry leaders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I am very pleased to be here this evening. Tomorrow I will be meeting with Deputy Minister [of Defence James] Judd as part of the long tradition of close Canadian-American security cooperation, which has served both nations so well. Indeed, our nations stood together across the long and sometimes difficult history of the 20th Century. There were the half million Canadians who went "over there" first during World War I to places such as Vimy Ridge and Passcendaele. There were the one and a half million who fought tyranny in the Second World War, proving their heroism from to Dieppe to Gold Beach. At the Quebec Conferences, leaders such as Roosevelt, Churchill and King helped to determined the strategy of D-Day and the shape of the post-war world. Indeed, from Korea to Kuwait, and through the long Cold War, our nations have served and sacrificed together in distant lands in the name of freedom.
In recent years, our forces have served together as part of NATO’s commitment to the Balkans, working to bring peace to that corner of Europe. Canadian pilots, of course, played an important role in Operation Allied Force, flying humanitarian missions and over 700 combat sorties over Kosovo, supplying 1,000 troops to the original allied ground force that entered Kosovo after the air campaign.
This past spring I visited some of the NATO forces maintaining peace in the Balkans at Camp Able Sentry in Macedonia and at Camps Bondsteel and Montieth in Kosovo. I don’t think anyone can see those men and women and not be inspired by all they have accomplished in the past year and a half.
Because of Operation Allied Force a year ago and the peacekeeping since, Serbian forces are out of Kosovo, the vast majority of refugees have returned, the region is largely stable, and there is hope for the future. So while very real challenges remain in Kosovo, we should not overlook the very real achievements of these past fifteen months.
In Bosnia, as well, the success of NATO efforts is a testament to the effectiveness of our alliance. Only a few short years ago, the prospects for Bosnia seemed poor. Many said intervention would be pointless. The world watched daily pictures of ethnic cleansing in the countryside and slaughter in the cities.
Today, through the combined efforts of our soldiers and diplomats the people of Bosnia -- while still facing major challenges -- now have reason to hope for the future. More refugees are returning to their homes. Over the last two years, Bosnian Serbs, Muslims, and Croats have agreed to cut their armed forces by more than a quarter. The city of Brcko -- the only unresolved territorial issue from the Dayton peace agreement and an issue many thought would bring on renewed war -- has been resolved through international arbitration and now has a working, multi-ethnic government and police force. And two weeks ago, a multi-ethnic Bosnian Olympic team entered the stadium in Sydney under a common banner, a tremendous symbol of reconciliation and renewal.
With a new democratic regime in neighboring Croatia, Bosnia now also has a strong ally in the development of a peaceful, multi-ethnic state. Of course, as long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power in Serbia, shielding war criminals and thirsting for greater power, the world cannot let down its guard.
In Bosnia, again, Canadian forces have taken an important role in securing the peace. Canada has increased its share of responsibility in Bosnia, increasing troop strength by 40% to 1,400. And just last week, Canada took command of the southwestern sector, previously led by the British. All of which stands as further testament to your leadership in international peacekeeping efforts, a commitment marked, as we speak, by Canadians serving in 17 different trouble-spots around the globe from the Golan Heights to Central Africa.
NATO’s efforts in the Balkans have been, by and large, a success story. But our task now is to learn from that experience and look to future security challenges by undertaking an honest assessment of our capabilities, charting a course that will ensure stability and security for the Alliance in this new century, and ensuring that the forces that prevailed in the Balkans a year ago remain prepared to prevail in the campaigns of the future.
I would like to take a few moments this evening to discuss some of the issues of importance to our Alliance because Canada has a profound stake in the future of NATO and because this nation has historically been in a unique position with respect to the United States and our European allies. As Churchill once remarked, "Canada binds us together. She is a magnet exercising a double attraction, drawing both Europe and America towards herself, and thus drawing them closer to each other."
So tonight I would offer some thoughts on our alliance and what we have learned in the still-new post Cold War era.
The lessons from Bosnia and Kosovo, both for the alliance generally and our nations specifically, have been discussed and debated widely, especially the stark disparity in capabilities across the alliance. We all know the causes. We all know the consequences. As Secretary Cohen has said, "There was no disparity in courage or will" in Allied Force. "But the disparity in capabilities, if not corrected, could in fact threaten the unity of this Alliance."
Of course, such concern is why NATO launched the Defense Capabilities Initiative at the Washington Summit in 1999. However, a year and a half later, those disparities remain as significant as they are troubling. So I want to use the balance of my time this evening to be as candid as I can on precisely how we can address these shortcomings.
First, we know that that America’s allies need to invest more in defense. And the United States is encouraged by the modest increases in Canada’s investment in national security over the past two years and hope that it is the start of a more pronounced trend.
No one suggests strict parity of spending or equal military capability. However, every member nation of the alliance should both use existing resources more wisely and devote more resources to improving the capabilities we agreed upon at the Summit. Together, we should ensure that our efforts are complementary so as to maximize our collective capability.
As the North American members of the Atlantic Alliance, the United States and Canada are watching with great interest the progress of plans for a more robust European identity within NATO. The United States supports the efforts to create this force so that Europeans will have the capability to act when the larger Alliance chooses not to. But, again, without improving capabilities, the European Security Defense Identity that we all support will not be a serious exercise. Indeed, the Defense Capabilities Initiative and the EU’s Security and Defense Policy are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are mutually reinforcing.
The same is true with respect to the enduring alliance between the United States and Canada. When Canada invests in its military, it’s foreign and security policy is strengthened, bringing with it a stronger NATO, a stronger security alliance between our nations, and a stronger independent voice for Canada.
The second way we can address the gap in alliance capabilities is through greater defense industrial cooperation. A North America more open to European business, and a Europe more open to North American, business means both more competition and cooperation, which means more innovation, which means more capable and interoperable systems for our men and women in uniform. And because of more competition and potentially larger buys, we will get that capability at lower cost.
Third -- and a prerequisite for improving both military capabilities and industrial cooperation – are changes to the American system for sharing technology. This year the United States unveiled the first major reform to our export control system since the Cold War. The Defense Trade Security Initiative is designed to ensure two major goals: increasing the amount of technology shared with our allies; and, at the same time, enhancing the effectiveness of our export control system and encouraging allies to do the same. The initiative includes a broad package of 17 specific reforms.
I know that this has been a complicated issue between our nations in recent years. But I am optimistic that we will soon be able to take steps that will dramatically streamline the process for Canadian exports. Indeed, based on legislation now before the Canadian Senate, the U.S. Department of Defense is working on broad new rules in this area.
Of course, companies in these countries will have to be reliable as well, by maintaining their own good records of security, and, as I said, Canada is moving in that direction. By removing a number of U.S. licensing requirements, we hope to share our military technologies more expeditiously with our allies, while at the same time strengthening our collective protection of such technology through more effective export control systems.
In addition to the proposed new country exemption for Canada, U.S. industry now has available broad new export authorizations for cooperative programs. For example, under current regulations, if an American and foreign firm enter into joint development and production of a defense product, they typically need to obtain several licenses. Under our proposal, once we complete a government-to-government agreement, U.S. industry will be able to apply for a single, long-term program export authorization, good for the duration of the agreement.
Our initiative also includes specific reforms to expedite procurements related to the Defense Capabilities Initiative. For example, the DoD review process will be shortened from a maximum of 25 days to 10 days or less for items specifically identified as supporting the DCI.
An additional piece of our effort falls under what we could call "good government," reforms designed to improve how this new system will work day-to-day. At the Defense Department we have already begun to streamline the processes for export review. We have reduced the amount of time it takes us to complete our reviews from 46 days last fall down to 17 days today, with a realistic goal of 10 days in the future. We are increasing our licensing staff by 50 percent. We are devoting more resources and we will computerize our processes. This includes some $30 million over three years for a new automation system to expedite the review process.
The fourth imperative is to recognize the interdependence of our infrastructure. A coalition is only as strong as its weakest link. So collectively we have to do everything possible to reduce the risks to future missions. This is especially true for our two nations, which share so much critical infrastructure. Indeed, the interdependence and information superiority that we consider to be among our greatest strengths also pose our greatest security challenges.
The fifth and final way we can increase both alliance military capabilities and industrial cooperation demands something of our partners in both government and industry. I have spoken about what the United States will do. But if this new approach is going to succeed, we need something else. We need something from you, from our allies and from industry. We need your commitment and your cooperation. To date, security practices have largely been strong. In the future, we need them to be even stronger and better able to keep up with changes in business practices, such as distributed design terms. We need you and your companies to commit the human and financial resources to properly administer your proposed new security and export control laws and regulations.
A final issue which, I know, is of interest to you, and of great importance in the U.S.-Canadian security relationship, is national missile defense, and I should briefly comment on President Clinton’s recent decision.
The President’s choice to defer a deployment decision on the National Missile Defense [NMD] system to his successor involved many factors. Central for the Department of Defense, as Secretary Cohen has stated, is the importance of sustaining a solid national consensus on the need for a NMD system and the scope and structure of such a system. That means not tying the hands of the next President and Secretary of Defense. Indeed, the next President should be fully involved in decisions regarding the future of the program before committing the U.S. to a deployment strategy. It is too important and too far-reaching to approach in any other way. In the meantime, we will aggressively proceed with developmental testing program and also continue our consultations with the Congress, our allies, including the Canadian Government and with Russia.
In national missile defense, as in nearly every aspect of international security, our nations are bound together like few others. Indeed, it was President Kennedy who said that, "Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies."
Tonight, as we look out on an uncertain world, we can be confident that among the bedrock certainties of the century to come will be the flourishing partnership between our two great nations. We are more than allies. Through our shared history and the friendship of our people, we are bound together in a unique and enduring way. Thank you very much.