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Defense Secretary to Host NATO Ministerial in Colorado Springs

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2003 – Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld will welcome NATO Secretary General George Robertson to the informal meeting of NATO defense ministers Oct. 8 and 9 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The dawn of the 21st century has been a time of challenge and change for NATO, Rumsfeld stated in a welcome letter to the attendees.

"While NATO's core mission the defense of its member states remains the same, the dangers we face today are considerably different from those NATO was originally formed to confront and we are transforming to meet them," he wrote.

In Colorado Springs, the secretary continued, defense ministers will continue discussions on NATO changes which include "a streamlined command structure that lays out a blueprint for the new way the Alliance will fight; a new NATO Response Force to increase the deployability, sustainability and interoperability of our forces; and a new Strategic Command to transform NATO doctrine, tactics, training and planning."

The defense ministers will also have the opportunity to participate in a study seminar involving a fictitious scenario simulation that will "explore the various capabilities and decision-making processes necessary to turn the NRF into a lethal, agile and technologically- superior force," noted Rumsfeld.

The North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington on April 4, 1949, created an alliance of 10 European and two North American independent nations. Four more European nations joined between 1952 and 1982. On March 12, 1999, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. At a June meeting in Brussels, Belgium, these countries were joined by seven new invitees Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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