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International Cooperation 'Crucial' to U.S. Defense Policy

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2005 – The United States can't win the global war on terrorism all by itself, a senior DoD official noted here today, drawing on conclusions from recent discussions among the department's top policy specialists.

"Much of what the United States wants to see done in the world for our own national security purposes, and specifically with regard to the war on terrorism, are things that can be done as a practical manner only by other countries," Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.

Feith and Navy Rear Adm. William Sullivan, vice director of the Joint Staff's strategic plans and policy shop, rolled out the department's new National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy.

The NDS is Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's guidance to the department, Feith said, on how to support and implement President Bush's National Security Strategy established in September 2002.

The NDS, Feith noted, also forms the basis for the department's Quadrennial Defense Review process. The QDR examines the types of military capabilities needed to support the NDS. The next QDR is slated for completion in February 2006.

The armed forces' National Military Strategy supports the NDS and contains both secret and unclassified material, Feith explained.

Feith noted the new NDS contains three main ideas:

-- the need to deal with strategic uncertainly that has followed the end of the Cold War;

-- the value of early measures and actions that can prevent crisis from becoming wars; and

-- the importance of building partnerships with other countries.

Some nations friendly to the United States have terrorists within their borders, Feith pointed out. Under this scenario, he noted, "the only way that action can be taken effectively against those terrorist enemies is if it's taken by the governments of the countries where they are located."

In fact, "international cooperation is crucial to our fighting the war on terrorism," Feith asserted, noting it's important for the United States to reach out and seek dialogue with nations with terrorist problems and to offer assistance.

Such assistance, he said, may involve law enforcement, civil administration or intelligence assets, as well as military training and other aid.

The U.S. government, Feith pointed out, "has an interest in helping enable these other countries to be able to work with us" in defeating global terrorism.

DoD's new strategy documents, Feith said, will assist the department in safeguarding Americans' freedom and way of life.

Later in the day at an interview with the Pentagon Channel, Feith expressed hope that DoD planners "are doing as good a job on the strategy level as our forces are doing out there on the front lines, because they're doing a brilliant job."

Contact Author

Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith
Rear Adm. William Sullivan, USN

Related Sites:
National Defense Strategy

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