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U.S., Ukraine Sign Cooperation Agreement

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Dec. 8, 1999 – The U.S.-Ukraine Defense Cooperation Plan inked here Dec. 3 will affect service members from all levels of the U.S. military, DoD officials said.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Ukrainian Defense Minister Olexander Kuzmuk signed the pact at a ceremony in NATO headquarters. The agreement covers calendar 2000 and spells out functional areas of U.S. defense cooperation with Ukraine.

There are 25 separate areas of cooperation, said a senior defense official. One major aspect is DoD will continue to help Ukraine with professional military education. This includes advanced officer education and setting up an NCO academy.

At the NCO level, were contributing a vast amount of experience and work with Ukrainians to develop the academy, the official said. Ukraine did not have a professional NCO corps when it was part of the Soviet Union. Under that system, junior officers handled the jobs normally done by NCOs in Western forces.

After signing the agreement, Kuzmuk called Cohen the father of the Ukrainian NCO Corps. He said the program is beginning to bear fruit and Ukraine is creating a professional NCO corps.

The plan also covers military medical exchanges. It calls for military exchanges with Ukrainians on medical techniques for treating casualties in the field. U.S. and Ukraine forces work together in peacekeeping operations and this type of knowledge could help save lives, officials said.

Another aspect of the plan calls for exercises dealing with peacekeeping in a chemical and biological environment. This is something that will have obvious impact on the development of doctrine and the development of training modules for troops, one official said.

Other portions of the plan call for continued cooperation in counterproliferation programs and for setting up a joint consultative economic system to deal with a range of defense economic issues. The system will track everything from defense budgeting to economic issues associated with base closures, officials said.

DoD Public Affairs also will cooperate with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in setting up public affairs programs.

The plan is in addition to an agreement signed earlier between U.S. European Command and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. That agreement spells out cooperation between the countries for exercises and some military-to-military contacts.

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