United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DoD News

Bookmark and Share

 News Article

Rumsfeld Speaks on Missile Defense, Cooperation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2001 – The United States has allies, and allies consult with each other. That was the bottom line of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's Feb. 3 speech to the Munich (Germany) Conference on Security Policy.

He assured listeners the United States would consult with allies and friends about National Missile Defense and about troop levels in the Balkans.

Rumsfeld said world leaders must recognize the world has changed and that defenses, too, must change.

The idea of mutual assured destruction and massive retaliation "worked reasonably well during the Cold War," he said. But the threats have changed, as have the technologies to combat them. The threat from weapons of mass destruction exists, he said, and the United States must plan to counter that threat.

"No U.S. president can responsibly say that his defense policy is calculated and designed to leave the American people undefended against threats that are known to exist," Rumsfeld said. "A system of defense need not be perfect, but the American people must not be left completely defenseless.

"Therefore, the United States intends to develop and deploy a missile defense designed to defend our people and forces against a limited ballistic missile attack," he said. The United States also is prepared to help friends and allies to deploy such defenses if they're threatened by missile attack, he added.

He said such a system does not threaten anyone and should only be a concern "to those who threaten others."

Rumsfeld said the United States would consult with allies about a missile defense system. "The United States has no interest in deploying defenses that would separate us from our friends and allies," he said. "Indeed, we share similar threats." The United States would share this technology with allies and friends to ensure they are defended from attack or defended from the threat of nuclear blackmail.

Rumsfeld turned to the Balkans. He said the conflict over Kosovo showed NATO needs to upgrade and transform its capabilities. "For that, we need more resources," he said.

Another lesson from the Balkans is that "we are most successful when we act together."

Many allies took statements made during the presidential campaign as a promise to remove U.S. service members from duty in the Balkans. "We will not act unilaterally or fail to consult our allies," Rumsfeld said. He said the United States, with its partner nations, will decide the appropriate level of forces in the Balkans. NATO reviews troop strengths every six months. The results of the next review will be out in May.

In addition, he said he needs to hear and to learn more about the European Union's European Security and Defense Program. The EU wants to create a 60,000- man security force that could be used when NATO as a whole does not wish to take part.

The 15-nation European Union is composed of Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and 11 NATO members -- Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom. The eight NATO allies not in the EU are Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Turkey and the United States.

As EU countries put together their proposals, Rumsfeld cautioned, they should remember that NATO is the most successful alliance in history. He said he would support anything that makes the alliance stronger.

"Actions that could reduce NATO's effectiveness by confusing duplication or by perturbing the trans-Atlantic link would not be positive," he said. Any action taken in regard to ESDP should also strengthen NATO.

Rumsfeld said any action on ESDP should be inclusive, "open to all NATO members who wish to take part."

The secretary addressed NATO enlargement -- due for consideration in 2003 -- by saying any enlargement should enhance the alliance's capabilities. "New members should share the values of the allied nations and be prepared to shoulder the burden -- to make the necessary security investments to participate fully in the pursuit of our aims," he said.

Contact Author

Related Sites:
Remarks as Delivered By Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, at the Munich Conference on European Security Policy, Munich, Germany, Feb. 3, 2001

Related Articles:
Rumsfeld Makes Case for National Missile Defense
Rumsfeld to Meet European Leaders, Visit Troops
NATO Chief Says EU Force Will Draw Alliance Together

Additional Links

Stay Connected