DoD News Briefing - Franklin D. Kramer, ASD ISA
Bacon: Frank Kramer is the assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs, and he's going to talk about three things: first, he's going to introduce the new European Strategy Report, which is a 21st century version of the report we released some five years ago outlining our strategic national interests in Europe and the importance of our partnership with our European friends and allies through NATO.
Second, he's going to talk about the current negotiations within Europe over the creation of a European defense -- security and defense identity, and the relationship -- the very direct planning relationship that the European force will have with NATO.
And third, he'll outline some of the issues that Secretary Cohen will deal with when he travels to the NATO Defense Ministerial next week in Brussels. This of course is a meeting that involves the Euro-Atlantic Council as well as the members of NATO, so it's a very expansive meeting that deals broadly with the full range of Europe's security interests.
So with the introduction, I give you Frank Kramer.
Kramer: Good afternoon. Let me talk first about the new what we'll call the European Strategy Report, copies of which are available [on line at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/eurostrategy2000.pdf ]. Basically, the report has two main points. The first is that Europe remains an area of vital interest for the United States, and so it's crucial for us to continue to deal with the security issues that Europe raises; and secondly, that we have to have a multifaceted strategy to do it, but if you were to shorthand that strategy, you would say it was NATO-plus -- NATO plus new capabilities as set forth in the Defense Capabilities Initiative; NATO plus additional institutions, like the Partnership for Peace; like the European Security and Defense Identity [ESDI]; like the Southeast European Defense Ministerial; like the U.S.-Baltic Forum; and NATO plus dealing with the conventional threat but also the new challenges of the 21st century: weapons of mass destruction; terrorism; cyberterrorism; and areas of interest in the world that are beyond just the traditional NATO territory, the Mediterranean, Africa, for example.
Secondly, as Ken said -- it's probably best for me to take questions on this -- we will be in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday. Well, the meetings are on Tuesday and Wednesday. We will focus on a number of issues. One will be the new ministerial guidance, which the secretary had sought at Birmingham. We anticipate that it will be approved. And it will focus heavily on the kinds of forces that NATO ought to have -- more deployable, more lethal, more survivable -- and will be a change away from the in-place territorial kinds of forces that NATO had in the Cold War.
The second large issue, of course, will be ESDI. We hope to get some progress not only in the NATO meetings, but also there were a series of other meetings in roughly the same time frame -- EU meetings. And we will try to have a coordinated set of results. Those haven't occurred, but they can't occur until the meetings. So -- but that would be -- the idea would be to have a defense planning process that incorporates the countries of both NATO and the European Union. The secretary put this in terms of having a planning process at 23, because that's the total number of countries, if you add up the countries in both of those institutions.
We will also have meetings with the Russians while we're there, with the Ukraine, and with the partners for -- Partnership for Peace countries.
So let me stop with that and turn to you, to you all.
Q: Frank, this whole -- there doesn't seem to be anything really settled yet -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- on how this EU force, this 60,000-member EU force, will be used; whether or not it could be used; whether or not NATO wants to step into something on that; or just exactly how -- has any concrete agreement been drawn up at all yet on how this U.S. -- EU force would be employed? And are you worried that it hasn't, that there's no decision been made on that?
Kramer: There are some concrete things, and I think it's important to take a look back at them.
Help me -- Helsinki was the most recent EU meeting, and that had a statement. And then there was a comparable NATO statement at the same time, which says, in substance, that these forces are to be used when NATO as a whole is not engaged. I think that's a very important statement, because it shows that it's -- NATO is the, if you will, first provider of security in Europe -- NATO plus the partners, as is true, as a matter of fact, in Bosnia and Kosovo, and then the EU force when NATO as a whole is not engaged.
So you really do have that. What you don't have, Charlie, are some of the more technical parts. I don't want to suggest that they're not important, but they are inside that overall strategic framework, one of which is the defense planning process, which I just mentioned. We want to have a planning process of 23. And one is to finalize for the EU the assured access to NATO assets, if necessary.
Q: Well, wouldn't the deputy SACEUR, under the proposal, or is it under the rules, that the deputy SACEUR would have control -- partial control of this force, EU Force?
Kramer: He would be what I would call the strategic commander for the European forces. In effect, he would be -- he would have the same role for those forces as the SACEUR would have for NATO forces.
Q: That has been agreed, that he would do this, wear two hats?
Kramer: Well, we agreed to that concept when the WEU was the institution that would have guided European forces. We haven't finalized the agreement, which would be in practical terms the same agreement, for the EU, but there's no reason to think that we won't finalize it. It's, you know, substantively final.
Q: Do you expect that to happen at the meeting?
Kramer: We would hope to have that and the assured access and the planning all agreed on in December. I don't know if it will be agreed on, but it has not yet been agreed on. That's part of the purpose of these meetings.
Q: Would NATO have a right of first refusal on, you know, operations that would involve the Europeans? How would that be sorted out?
Kramer: The answer is -- I think the better way to say it is that the anticipation is that NATO would be the institution, and that the Europeans would be acting only when NATO is not involved.
And I don't mean to quibble over the words "first refusal." I mean, I'm happy to characterize what I just said as a right of first refusal, if you want to call it that.
I don't think those words are particularly meaningful. That's more of a commercial concept. But the idea would be that we would look and the Europeans look to NATO to be dealing with situations involving force. If NATO as a whole is not going to deal with that situation, the Europeans want to be able to deal with it on their own.
If you went back, for example, to the Richard speech, which I talked with you about a couple times, that he gave, I think in March of this year, February, March of this year, and you go look at his words, which are more informal, if you will, he said that Europeans want to be able to put out fires in their own backyard with you -- meaning the U.S. -- if you were there, and without you if you would not be. But the whole concept is that NATO remains the first provider.
Q: I guess my question goes to is it -- would it be the EU that would decide whether NATO as a whole is not going to be involved, or whether that's going to be a decision that will be made --
Kramer: No, NATO will decide as to if NATO as a whole would not be involved.
Q: Can you speak to the involvement of industry in the plan that you have here as far as building transatlantic cooperation between defense industries here in the U.S. and in Europe as a part of its overall strategy?
Kramer: We want to have transatlantic cooperation. I think everybody wants to have transatlantic cooperation. Transatlantic cooperation has to occur at two levels. Governments have to facilitate it, and then industry has to decide to do particular projects. We've undertaken to do some of that facilitation with the DTSI, Defense Trade and Security Initiative. We're going forward on that. I think all of you know we're in the process on the European side of active negotiating an arrangement with the U.K. We've said we want to make such arrangements available to all NATO allies.
The DTSI happens to go beyond Europe, because we're also looking -- for example, we're actively involved with negotiating with the Australians, and there are other countries also. The industry itself has to decide itself, for market reasons, about mergers, about projects and the like, so the government can't do that. But we're doing our best to facilitate that.
Q: Sir, do you expect any specifics from the NATO allies about what they're going to actually do about bringing their capabilities up?
Q: I know a lot of them have plans, but will they --
Kramer: Yes. A lot of the allies have undertaken a variety of particular steps. This is not a bad place for them to reiterate those, but we know a lot of those. And again, for some of you, I have discussed them, but if I can run through a few, I'd be happy to.
First of all, virtually all the allies have changed the type of force that they want from an in-place, relatively immobile force to a mobile, deployable, and more modern force. That's a major set of structural changes. And you see that with the U.K., and that's the result of its strategic defense review. You see that in Norway. You see that in France. You see that in Italy.
And NATO has -- NATO does force planning, a defense planning process, and the NATO force planning goals all speak precisely to that and put requirements on all the countries that participate in that, which are all the NATO countries other than France, specifically to do those kinds of things, to increase mobility and the like.
There are a variety of particularized projects to that end. I mean, they're acquiring things, and you have to go and look at the budget, but for example, any number of the countries, the NATO countries, have plans to acquire precision-guided munitions. They are doing that.
The Germans have taken the lead in trying to generate a European transportation command, with a focus on airlift.
The French and the Dutch have done the maritime cell?
Kramer: The French and the Dutch are working together on a maritime cell, increased lift capabilities.
There are a whole number of these particular kinds of plans. The Italians are working much harder on acquiring deployable assets. And we can, if you like, give you a sort of list for each country, which I'm happy to afterwards. The ministers will probably speak to that.
But what is most important -- and just like for us -- is that each of those countries in their national planning process, in their national budgetary process, are actually putting money into this end, and that that's a big difference.
And most recently, the Germans have just announced -- it was about three weeks ago -- they announced the results of their defense review also, and the Germans also are now changing their force from being a territorial-based, in-place type force to a mobile force.
Q: In the report you mentioned the Defense Trade Initiative. Has everything been worked out with the State Department on that? Are there still any outstanding issues that you have not resolved?
Kramer: The Defense Trade Security Initiative is a -- if you will -- an administration initiative. It also has congressional support, so it's a U.S. initiative. And so the particulars of the initiative -- and there are 17, and you probably have gotten the piece of paper that lists all them, but if you haven't, we'll give it to you -- is totally agreed on.
We are in the process of working out with the U.K. an agreement which I hope to conclude -- I don't know if I would say momentarily, but soon, and State is involved with us with that. But there are no issues over the DTSI with State. I mean, that's what we agreed to when we did the 17 initiatives. Now, some of the things there State has to implement; they have to provide additional resources, additional people to expedite export licenses, for example, and they're in the process of doing that. But there are no differences in principles.
Q: Has -- I'm sorry. As a follow up, has the U.K. agreed to change some of their policies to comply with the U.S. policies? Was that part of the negotiations?
Kramer: One of the issues that is at negotiation is the question of how do you deal with what you might call re-exports; that is to say, if we send technology to the U.K., what do they do? And we have a statutory requirement to have limitations on that, and we're working out with the U.K. how to deal with that.
Q: Mr. Kramer, will this meeting put in place the Defense Planning Group, that Plus 23, or is that something that will be farther down the pike?
Kramer: I would hope that it would, but I'm not sure that it would.
Q: Has the EU agreed, or do you expect it to agree to --
Kramer: Can I just say one other thing? You have to do it both in NATO and in the EU. So you have the Nice meeting. So you can't do it all just at this --
Q: And the other side will probably be done?
Kramer: Well, I'm hopeful. But I mean we have to get everything done at the same time. And one of the tricky parts is, you've got two institutions that you have to make work together.
Q: This might be the same question, but is there --
Kramer: It would be amazing if the press ever asked the same question.
Q: -- is there agreement by the EU to this idea of having a common defense plan, and particularly on operational planning, or that operational planning would remain under NATO, under SHAPE, as I understand --
Kramer: Right. Let me go back. There are two kinds of planning, so -- I'm going to answer your question, but just to be clear. You've got defense planning, which is -- or force planning, what kind of force structure do you have. Do you have three divisions or 10 divisions? Are they heavy divisions, are they light divisions? That's one kind of planning. Second kind of planning is operational planning. If you're going to have a contingency in Kosovo, what are the plans to accomplish the mission? Those are different.
SHAPE is where you do the operational planning. That's what we do now. That's what military planners do. NATO -- that is to say, Brussels, the international staff, the international military staff -- now is where we do the force planning. So we want to do both of those, that is to say, and we want to have in the force planning side -- that's where you'd have that meeting of 23.
Kramer: And I'll answer your question. Is it agreed? Not quite yet. What I would say is the best way to think about it is everyone agrees that you have to have a common planning process because you can't have -- you only have one set of forces. One of the misleading ways people have talked about what the Europeans are doing is as if the 60,000 was a new military forces structure. It's not. The military force structure hasn't changed plus or minus one person. It's the exact same force structure the day before they had their capabilities conference and the day after.
What they did is they said, "I've got this force structure -- you know, the U.K. has X amount of military capability, France has Y, Germany has Z, et cetera, et cetera -- and I will provide a portion of that capability to the EU if the EU needs it, and it will operate under the strategic guidance of the deputy SACEUR, et cetera.
If you have two different institutions giving those very same forces different sets of guidance, you could have a real problem. The reason we want to have a common meeting as to what kind of force structure there ought to be is to avoid different sets of guidance. Everyone agrees that that's the sensible thing. What is not agreed is precisely how you have that meeting happen. And some people say you have two meetings, and you bring them together, and some people say you just have one.
For the most part -- in fact, I would say, for the very great most part -- people have been very positive about the concept of meeting at 23, but it's not done. And I hope to have it done, but it's not done yet.
Q: What about the idea of having operational planning remain in SHAPE? I believe the French were -- I'm -- well, I'm not sure if they're opposed, but they were arguing for having their own planning capabilities within the EU structure.
Kramer: I think this is -- well, two things. I think everyone agrees that if you have any -- a military mission of any consequence, the planning will be in SHAPE. What I have heard French planners say is that, you know, "We have our own national capability." That's true. That's -- as a matter of fact, every country has its own national capability. And in a smaller kind of mission, you could potentially use the national capability for that.
But if you're going to engage any number of countries that -- any large number, you're going to have to do it at a central place. Otherwise, it simply won't work. I mean, no -- French planners can't plan for Belgian or Polish or whatever forces; they had no involvement of the Belgians and the Poles or, for that matter, the Swedes, whereas in SHAPE we've got that right now.
Q: But have they been persuaded by -- (off mike)?
Q: Yeah, but I -- yeah, but have they agreed to do that, or do they want to keep this planning group aside in the EU, as opposed to bringing it to SHAPE?
Kramer: We so far -- I don't think I can say this too often -- we don't have final agreement. I believe that we will have final agreement. I don't want to anticipate more than I can anticipate.
I think that the notion that SHAPE will be the operational planner is likely to occur. I think the French are working their way forward on this issue, and I anticipate it will happen, but it's not done.
Q: Is the SECDEF going to take up U.S. concerns about possible sale of missiles and other military equipment to Iran when he meets with General Sergeyev? Or will he -- I assume he is going to meet with Sergeyev?
Kramer: Yes, we will have -- he'll both see -- he sees Sergeyev two times. There's the PJC/D [Permanent Joint Council/Defense] and then there is the -- there will be a bilateral. And when we go through the bilateral, certainly we'll take up a whole host of issues and we'll, you know, we'll talk about each of those. And I don't want to anticipate precisely what the secretary is going to talk about.
Q: Will that be Wednesday, the bilaterals will be Wednesday morning?
Kramer: Yes, it will be.
Q: Are they going to have an availability for us afterwards, or do you know?
Kramer: That I don't know, and we'll have to talk to Mr. Bacon. I mean, part of the problem will be just a pure timing problem. Obviously, you're going to have a chance to talk to the secretary, but whether you have a -- you're talking about a joint availability.
Bacon: I believe that Marshal Sergeyev is leaving for another European capital immediately after his meeting with Secretary Cohen.
Q: Can we have one between the meeting and the time that he leaves, just maybe gather as they can?
Bacon: Talk to my Russian counterpart.
Q: All right.
Q: Let me ask, what confidence can the other allies have that these proposals will be followed through by a new administration? I mean we've got a month to go before there's a new president.
Kramer: For the most part -- and I don't know which new administration we'll have -- the Supreme Court having just met today, and other court cases going forward -- but if you looked in this particular set of issues, there is a tremendous overlap between where the vice president was and where the governor was during the campaign. I am not going to speak for either of them precisely, but my anticipation is that there's going to be a lot, a lot of continuity between what's been set out in the four years that Secretary Cohen has been the secretary, and whoever will be the next secretary of Defense.
And the reason is because the interests are the same. I mean, everyone wants NATO to be the major force in Europe, from a security point of view. Everyone recognizes that there is the Amsterdam Treaty and the Europeans are integrating. Everyone recognizes the problem that in-place forces no longer make any sense because you don't know precisely where the problem will come from, so you have to have deployable forces; you want to take advantage of technology. Everyone recognizes the problems of weapons of mass destruction and you have to deal with those through TMD, NMD -- some combination thereof. Terrorism is obviously a problem.
So if you look at the whole of what we are doing, you know, all administrations always put their own stamp on that, but one of the hallmarks of what went on in the Cold War years was a tremendous continuity between administrations. And I anticipate that will be true once again.
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