Lynn: ‘Unbreakable Bond’ Joins U.S., Czech Militaries
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
PRAGUE, June 15, 2011 The long-standing and growing military relationship between the United States and the Czech Republic has forged “an unbreakable bond,” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said here today.
At a news conference following a 30-minute meeting with Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra which Lynn described as “important and useful,” the deputy secretary said the growing U.S.-Czech strategic relationship has multiple strands and extensive contacts.
“As the minister mentioned, we have a relationship in the research and development area through the Office of Naval Research,” Lynn said. “We have strong relationships in terms of special operations forces [and] in terms of peacekeeping.”
In addition, he said, the two nations are working together on mutual improvement of their chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense capabilities.
“And I think one of the particular points in this meeting that we think we can build on is cooperation in terms of helicopter training, operations and maintenance,” Lynn said. “There is currently a Czech team in the United States that’s bringing some new ideas on that front forward, and we’re looking forward to evaluating those and looking at that as a basis for further cooperation.”
The multiple areas of military cooperation between the United States and the Czech Republic are strong individually, the deputy secretary said, and they collectively build an unbreakable bond between the two nations that will continue to grow, especially as the Czech military implements the approach outlined in its White Book on Defense, a plan for improving and reforming the country’s military and its defense procurement system.
“The area that’s most current in terms of exploration is the helicopter training, maintenance and operations,” Lynn said. “In that area, we greatly admire the Czech expertise, which is being very vividly demonstrated in Afghanistan, and we think that the ideas that are in the White Book, focusing on core competencies in these difficult fiscal times is exactly the right approach. And clearly, helicopter operations, training and maintenance is a core competency of the Czech Republic."
The deputy secretary dispelled the notion that the United States withdrew an offer to have two computer terminals installed at Czech military facilities so that the Czech Republic could have near-real-time access to information about ballistic missile launches detected by U.S. early warning sensors. He noted that in his remarks at the news conference, Vondra pointed out that the offer the United States had made was overtaken by events, as NATO changed its approach to missile defense when its heads of state and government met in Lisbon, Portugal, in November.
“The Lisbon summit has, I think, changed the nature of the missile defense framework that we’re operating in,” Lynn said, “and the offer -- while an interesting one and a good one -- I think no longer fits either the missile defense framework or the Czech needs.”
After his arrival this morning on an overnight flight from the United States, Lynn met with U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen and members of the U.S. country team here before his meeting with Vondra. Later in the day, he met privately with Czech Chief of Defense Gen. Vlastimil Picek.