Statement of Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen before the Senate Committee on Appropriations on the topic of NATO Enlargement 21 October 1997
Senator Stevens, Senator Byrd, Senator Inouye, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. It is a great privilege to appear with the Secretary of State to discuss one of the President's top foreign policy objectives: NATO enlargement. As you may know, we appeared together before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April to discuss this same topic. I welcome the opportunity to continue this dialogue with the Senate.
WHY ENLARGE NATO? FIRST, SOME EUROPEAN HISTORY.
We are at an historic moment. By working together within the U.S. Government, and within the NATO alliance, we can change the face of Europe forever in the next few years. It is a challenge from which we should not retreat.
Our veterans of the First World War witnessed how even the vast Atlantic Ocean couldn't protect us from being drawn into the fiery hatreds of the Old World. They marched into battle singing, "We won't be back 'til it's over, over there." But to our lasting regret, when the guns of Autumn fell silent, America ignored the embers of hatred that still smoldered in Europe and we missed the opportunity to prevent another war, the deadliest in human history.
Millions of American sons returned to the very same terrain that their fathers died defending, and thousands of them paid the ultimate price for this missed opportunity. But those who fought in World War II gave us a second chance to build a safer world.
President Truman, speaking of the Marshall Plan, said, "Our purpose from the end of the war to the present has never changed. It's been to create a political and economic framework in which lasting peace can be constructed." Western Europe embraced the Marshall Plan, built strong democracies and economies, and developed a strong alliance that we call NATO. But the
other half of Europe was denied the Marshall Plan when Joseph Stalin slammed down the Iron Curtain and began a separation of the continent which would persist for fifty years.
Today, having emerged victorious from the long winter of the Cold War, we have an historic opportunity and a very sober challenge. We have the opportunity to complete George Marshall's vision, and the challenge to secure a lasting peace in Europe whose security and stability remains a vital interest of America.
ENLARGEMENT ENHANCES NATO
Some question whether making NATO larger is going to make NATO weaker and, therefore, weaken America. On the contrary, our definitive answer is that enlargement must not and will not be allowed to dilute NATO's military effectiveness or political cohesion. A larger NATO will be a stronger NATO and will provide a wider allegiance in Europe to our values. It was the creation of NATO in 1949 that halted Soviet designs on western Europe. It was the enlargement of NATO, with Greece and Turkey in 1952, West Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982, that helped strengthen the wall of democracy. If, in the future, another direct threat of attack arises, an enlarged NATO would have: additional manpower, added military capability, more political support, and greater strategic depth. More importantly, a larger NATO will help bring stability for the 21st Century to Central Europe the spawning ground of crises throughout the 20th Century. We must seize this opportunity to continue to shape the security environment in Europe. In doing so, we will strengthen the political democracies and market economies of Central and Eastern Europe, and thereby enhance stability and reduce the risk that such a crisis will ever emerge. As was the case with nuclear deterrence during the Cold War, in this new era NATO enlargement is an insurance policy with an unusual twist: by paying a modest premium, we not only will be protected in case of fire, we will make a fire less likely to ignite.
THE CHOICE OF NEW MEMBERS
Formal membership in NATO carries as President Clinton has said, "(t)he most solemn security guarantees." Enlargement must not, and will not, be allowed to dilute NATO's military effectiveness nor its political cohesion. Sincere aspiration is not enough to guarantee membership in NATO. New members must demonstrate a commitment to: democracy and the rule of law, an open market economic system, civilian constitutional control of their militaries, peaceful resolution of disputes with their neighbors, respect for human rights, and development over time of military capabilities interoperable with NATO.
After discussions with allies, candidate countries, members of Congress and within the Administration, the President decided the U.S. would support extending invitations to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The President met with the other leaders of the NATO nations in a summit in July, and together they agreed to invite these nations to begin accession talks to join the Alliance.
Enlarging NATO with these three nations will carry the promise of peace and liberty into the next century.
You have heard it argued that by enlarging NATO we are going to create a new dividing line in Europe. That argument fails to appreciate the new dynamic that is underway in Europe, erasing these old lines and avoiding these new divisions. The mere prospect of having NATO membership has unleashed a powerful impetus for peace in Europe. Old rivals have settled their historic disputes: Poland and Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, Hungary and Romania, Italy and Slovenia, Germany and the Czech Republic. Without the prospect of NATO enlargement, these smoldering embers rather than being extinguished would have been fanned by nationalist fervor. This argument also fails to realize that by not enlarging, we would allow to stand an illegitimate dividing line drawn across the continent by Stalin fifty years ago. Some countries would feel compelled to seek security via other avenues, including ones potentially destabilizing and contrary to U.S. interests. We must move, with Europe, into the future. The Poles, Hungarians and Czechs are vital, vigorous and dynamic people. They share our ideals. They are making remarkable recoveries from decades of foreign domination. Now they want to return to their rightful place as equal partners in the European family of free and democratic nations. We need them and they need us.
If we are to ensure the achievement of our stated goal that enlargement will not draw new dividing lines in Europe, we must continue to give careful consideration to the security interests and concerns of those states that were not chosen for membership at Madrid. The door is open for future invitations, and no European nation is excluded from consideration. We expect other nations to become members as they meet the requirements. We need to continue to make clear to other aspirant countries that active participation in PfP is the prime pathway to membership in the Alliance, and to a solid security relationship with NATO. At the same time, no state among the non-selects has an "assured invitation" in 1999, or at any time, and future invitees will be held to the same standards as the current three. And, of course, any future accessions will, like these three, require Senate approval.
THE NATO-RUSSIA RELATIONSHIP
NATO is also embarking on a new relationship with Russia. There are some who claim that enlarging NATO is going to feed extremism in Russia and jeopardize Russia's move to democracy and its cooperation with the West. We should not permit these fears to overwhelm the facts. NATO and Russia are erasing old dividing lines every day, not least of which in our interactions in Bosnia where Russian and NATO soldiers patrol side by side in the cause of peace.
Mr. Chairman, permit me a moment of personal reflection. In February, shortly after I was sworn in as the Secretary of Defense, I traveled to Bosnia, and met with some of the American troops serving there. During lunch, a Russian soldier came up to me and gave me his beret as a gesture of peace, saying how proud he was to be serving alongside Americans. Two weeks ago, I was again in Bosnia and met with the new Russian commander, General Krivolapov. He concluded the meeting by declaring, in a Russian version of General Joulwan's motto for SFOR, "one team, one mission." Our new relationship with Moscow must acknowledge Russia's changing role in Europe and not be forever bound by the notion of a Russia in confrontation with NATO.
The objectives of NATO's new relationship with Russia are: to recognize Russia's inherent importance in European security after all, they have been a major player in European security for 300 years; to engage Russia in the new European security order; to facilitate a security dialogue and; when desirable and appropriate, to cooperate with Russia. Equally important to articulate are the things that NATO's new relationship with Russia does not do: it does not allow Russian participation in internal NATO issues; it does not give Russia a voice or a veto over NATO's decisions; and it does not give Russia a de facto membership in NATO.
THE MILITARY REQUIREMENTS AND COSTS OF ENLARGEMENT
And now, let me turn to a topic I know is of particular importance to members of the Appropriations Committee: how much will enlargement cost? And inextricably linked to the matter of cost in fact the driver of how much it will cost is a second question: what exactly are the military requirements of enlarging? These are complicated questions on which reasonable people will disagree, and have already disagreed. But let me walk you through the work we have done so far and the work we are now doing.
There are new costs to enlarging, but these costs are affordable. They are modest compared both to our total defense spending and to the costs and risks of not enlarging. To frame our discussion let me sketch for you the three categories of costs.
First, there are the costs to new members to be able to develop interoperable military forces to contribute to their own defense, the defense of other NATO members and other NATO operations. While they currently make a contribution, in order to be producers of security over time, the new members must re-build, re-equip, and re-train their forces. They must have smaller, better equipped, better supported, and better led forces.
Second, there are also the costs to current members to meet the requirements of NATO's new Strategic Concept, which is based on power projection rather than positional defense, and which meets the needs of an enlarged Alliance. Current members must do what they already have undertaken to improve mobility, deployability, interoperability, and flexibility. The key need for the current members is to proceed with these efforts.
I want to stress that these two categories of costs are all actions that the countries concerned would have to take to provide for their own defense, with or without NATO enlargement. Indeed, to get comparable levels of security without NATO enlargement the new members would have to spend more. But for NATO to ensure its military potential with enlargement, the capabilities which these other costs will fund, will be needed. So it is important that the commitments actually be met.
Finally, there are the costs to both new and old members of integrating new members into NATO. These direct costs to enlarging, costs which NATO would not have incurred but for enlarging, are relatively modest. These direct costs are associated with enhancing interoperability, extending NATO's integrated command, communications and air defense surveillance.
From one point of view, these could be considered the only true costs of NATO enlargement since they are the costs that would not be incurred if NATO did not add new members. But we have also thought it right to identify the first two categories of costs that will need to be paid to ensure that an enlarged NATO is able to meet its obligations.
INITIAL U.S. COST ESTIMATE
So, those are the three categories of costs. As you know, the Department of Defense developed a notional estimate of the costs of enlarging at the end of last year. This estimate was part of the report, requested by the Congress, that the President submitted to you in late February of this year.
Let me begin to make the link between costs and the military requirements of enlarging. Our initial estimate assumed that while there would be a need for serious defense capabilities for an enlarged NATO, there is currently no threat of large-scale conventional aggression in Europe, and that any such threat would take years to develop. This is, of course, the same assumption as we make for our own national planning.
Total costs for achieving all three categories were estimated as $27-35 billion. These costs would be spread over the 13-year time frame of 1997 through 2009 ten years after accession of new members. Now, using the breakdown of responsibility for these costs which I just outlined for you, the three categories of costs, let me give you what we estimated each group would have to bear:
New member costs for restructuring their militaries were estimated at about $10-13 billion over that time frame or about $800 million to $1 billion per year. These costs would all be borne by the new members, except to the limited extent Congress decides to continue limited support to Central European militaries. (As you know, the U.S. now provides about $100 million in Warsaw Initiative funding to all PfP countries combined to support their participation in PfP.)
Current allies' costs for NATO regional reinforcement upgrades were estimated at about $8-10 billion, or about $600-800 million per year. These costs would be borne by the current allies. For decades now, the U.S. has made no contribution to Allies' defense budgets (except for some loans to Greece & Turkey).
It is important to note that our cost estimates to date do not anticipate any added costs to the U.S. in this category because U.S. forces are already readily deployable and sustainable. The requirement to deploy to meet a contingency in places like Korea or Southwest Asia is more demanding than a hypothetical crisis in Central Europe.
Direct enlargement costs for new and old allies were estimated at about $9-12 billion, or about $700-900 million per year. This again, is the cost of items such as communications, reinforcement reception infrastructure, and other interoperability measures. We estimated that about 60% of these costs, or about $5.5 - 7 billion would be paid for out of NATO common budgets over the ten years following accession, that NATO budgets would be increased accordingly, and that the
U.S. would pay its standard 24% share of the NATO common budget. With these assumptions, the U.S. share of the direct costs of enlargement would be about $150-200 million per year.
These costs are manageable. Projected U.S. requirements to meet direct enlargement common budget costs is only a fraction of a percentage point when compared with total U.S. defense spending ($266 billion in 1997). The projected U.S. requirement is also modest when considered in relation to total NATO common budget spending. In 1997, these budgets totaled about $1.8 billion. The total U.S. contribution to the three budgets was about $485 million, while the allies contributed the other $1.3 billion. We expect these relative percentage cost shares will stay the same three European to one U.S. in the period when NATO is meeting the requirements of enlargement.
ONGOING NATO WORK TO HELP REFINE THE COST ESTIMATE
Several weeks ago, this Committee asked me for a refined cost estimate. On 16 October I submitted a report based on our work done to date. Since our work to respond in greater detail to your request will dovetail with work being done at NATO, let me first tell you about what the Alliance is doing. NATO has undertaken a review of the military implications and costs of enlargement, what new members will bring to the Alliance, and any additional requirements for current allies. The U.S. has long argued that any NATO cost estimate must be driven by the military requirements of enlargement. We were successful in pressing that argument in the Alliance, and a review of the military requirements is currently underway by the NATO staff. This level of detailed information, was obviously not available to us when we did our first cost study and it is still being formulated.
These reviews are ongoing at NATO this fall, with recommendations to be completed in November for consideration by ministers in December. The invitees worked with the NATO international staff to fill out a special Defense Planning Questionnaire (DPQ) as their initial step into the NATO Defense Planning Process. All NATO allies fill out a DPQ annually.
In an effort to better understand requirements as well as the current capabilities of the invited nations, members of NATO's international military staff have been conducting site visits at various military facilities in the invited countries this summer. They visited airfields and railheads in each country. This month they are visiting other facilities in each country to try to ensure that the first facilities they inspected are representative of the condition of the majority of facilities in that country.
The international staff of NATO will then cost those new requirements. That is part of the work that is to be completed in time for the December ministerials. These estimates will therefore be available to Congress well before any vote on enlargement.
NATO COST ESTIMATES MAY BE LOWER
Based on what we know now, I believe that the NATO cost estimates will be lower than those which you received from us in February. First the initial U.S. cost assessed four, not three, new members. Further, the NATO estimate will address only the direct, common-funded costs.
National costs borne by each ally or prospective ally are separate from, and will not be estimated by, the NATO work.
But I also expect the NATO cost estimates will be lower because some things are better in the invited nations than people thought. As a result of assessments NATO planners and logisticians have been conducting, we believe the additional investment required to prepare each of these nations, their military forces, and their infrastructures for full NATO membership will be less than initially anticipated. Let me share some examples of our experiences during these assessments to show why this is the case.
INTEROPERABILITY PROGRESS BY THE INVITEES
When the American General heading a small NATO team visiting Kecskemet Air Base asked his Hungarian host how he might accommodate a squadron of NATO F-16s, he was surprised by the precision and detail of the Hungarian response and the level of installation readiness already achieved. He commented that the Hungarians had done some excellent research. He was told it wasn't just research. Hungary had hosted a squadron of Dutch F-16s for several weeks in 1996, and a United States Air National Guard squadron was scheduled to arrive the week after the general's visit. The Dutch and American planes were in Hungary as part of a series of PfP exercises designed to improve interoperability. Thus Hungarians are already capable of handling NATO aircraft at some of their airfields. There is less work that needs to be done and in turn less money to be spent to improve these airfields than we had estimated earlier this year. This example also shows how PfP has contributed in direct and practical ways to preparing for NATO membership.
In another example, an analyst monitoring the NATO Common Fund Cost Study's progress noted that even though communications and information systems requirements were increasing, the prospective costs to the Czech Republic kept dropping. Upon closer inspection, it turned out the Czechs had already anticipated requirements for secure and non-secure digital communications programs and had applied NATO standards to the national programs they are pursuing on their own. In short, the Czechs had already spent their own money to fund some projects that we had assumed would be paid for by NATO as a whole through the common budgets.
Finally, an American General asked a Polish Major familiar with the details of a particular rail complex whether we could reasonably expect to transport a NATO armored division through it in one week's time. The amused Major replied by asking the general how many Soviet heavy divisions he thought they planned on moving through the same location when trains were going the other way?
These examples demonstrate an important point. When we conducted our initial cost study, we assumed a greater need for improving some military bases and equipment. As we spend more time on the ground in the countries of each of the invitees, learning the details of their military forces and infrastructure, we are gaining a better appreciation for just how well prepared they were to fight against NATO. We will be modernizing from an extremely robust foundation. We will not be building airfields from scratch. Accordingly, the direct costs of enlargement will likely
be less than we originally estimated. In fact, NATO will be inheriting a great deal of usable infrastructure.
During the Cold War these levels of capabilities would have been bad news stories, but today they are all good news stories. What I am attempting to demonstrate is that we are increasingly impressed by the levels of readiness, understanding, and initial success of the invitees in working toward NATO interoperability. These capabilities will contribute to driving down the need for NATO common-funded improvements once they become members of NATO. These capabilities are generally higher than we assumed in our February study on the requirements and costs of enlargement. I'm convinced, as we delve deeper into the circumstances in these countries, we will discover more examples of infrastructure capabilities either inherited from the Cold War or built up over the past three years through the Partnership for Peace.
SOME DEFICIENCIES EXIST
We will, of course, likely also find some deficiencies especially regarding personnel, specialized training, communications, and the levels of funding for force modernization. While the three cannot be expected to "fix" everything by 1999, each must have a serious program that lays out a defined path toward the enhancement of their defense capabilities.
We have told each invitee that its highest priority should be investing in quality personnel. They must develop effective systems for recruiting and retaining good troops. Key to this is the development of an effective NCO corps. The next priority is training including English language training for personnel and equipment are meaningless without adequate training. The next priority is achievement of a real degree of interoperability with NATO, including communications, logistics, infrastructure for reinforcement, and air defense.
While it is clear that each of the invited nations must undergo modernization of major weapons systems in the years ahead if it is to remain a contributor to overall alliance security, acquiring high tech weapons systems should not be a high priority.
These three countries are working hard to demonstrate that they are ready for membership in NATO. After the Madrid Summit, I traveled to Budapest while the President and Secretary Albright traveled to Warsaw and Prague. We made these trips not only to congratulate them but to remind them that the journey to Alliance membership had just begun, not ended. In the past month, Assistant Secretary Kramer has traveled to each of the invitees to discuss their preparations for membership. Each of these nations wants to be a contributor to, not just a consumer of, security. They are already contributing to the security of Europe by restructuring and modernizing their militaries to operate with NATO, by serving with our soldiers in Bosnia, and by helping to make a success of the Partnership for Peace.
Each country has some work to do. The Czechs for example, in their original DPQ responses to NATO, did not commit enough of their forces to NATO missions but their most recent response commits virtually all of their forces to NATO. Their future budgets need to allocate greater resources for defense; they have promised to increase their defense budget,
currently 1.7% of GDP, to 2% by the year 2000. While both Poland and Hungary have had similar deficiencies they are overcoming them. Hungary has increased its budget and Poland has an extensive fifteen year plan. I am encouraged by the rapid Czech response to our and NATO's constructive criticism during the past few weeks.
NEXT STEPS AT NATO
The NATO staff work I have been outlining for you, when forwarded to Ministers in December, will provide the basis for a more refined assessment of the costs associated with NATO enlargement. In order to support the Congress' review of issues associated with enlargement, I will, as I stated in my 16 October letter to Senator Stevens, provide you with an update based on these NATO efforts in early 1998.
Once the military requirements and cost estimates are agreed to in December, we will move forward to make good on the commitment undertaken by national leaders at Madrid that, "the resources necessary to meet [the costs of enlargement] will be provided." Three weeks ago in Maastricht, at the informal NATO defense ministerial, I led the discussions on this issue.
I reminded my colleagues that at our defense ministerial in June, we all pledged to play our full part: 1) in preparing the nations invited to join NATO for their future roles and obligations as Alliance members; 2) in providing sufficient resources to maintain the Alliance's ability to perform its full range of missions; 3) in implementing the Alliance's decisions to further enhance its relations with partners; and 4) in acknowledging that, "the admission of new memberswill involve the Alliance providing the resources which enlargement will necessarily require." These commitments were reaffirmed at the Summit in Madrid, where our Heads of State agreed: 1) that there will be costs associated with the integration of new members; 2) that these costs will be manageable; and 3) that the resources necessary to meet these costs will be provided. There was no disagreement on this topic among my colleagues in Maastricht. Still under discussion is whether that portion of the direct costs of enlargement which are a shared responsibility must result in a dollar for dollar increase in the NATO common budget or whether some can be offset by reductions in lower priority programs currently in the common budget. We continue to believe that additional resources will be required.
We will keep you informed over the coming months as this discussion continues.
Let me turn to the topic of burdensharing. Both the U.S. and our NATO allies have made big cuts in our defense budgets since the end of the Cold War. But, using the key indicators of burdensharing, as set by Congress, most of our NATO allies still make very substantial contributions to the common defense. For example, more than two-thirds of the troops participating in SFOR are non-U.S. forces.
We believe the allies can and should do more to improve their capability for this sort of mobile, flexible operation NATO will need to be ready for in the future. Most have already made improvements, and are committed to more. For example, Britain provides NATO's only rapidly-deployable corps headquarters committed to NATO and British forces are the backbone of the
Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). The U.K. also has the capability to deploy and sustain a division-sized force of 20-25,000 personnel in a Gulf War-style scenario.
France, in general, is restructuring its armed forces to be more mobile and easily deployable. The French are establishing a Rapid Action Force (FAR) designed for rapid response in both European and overseas contingencies. France also participated heavily in IFOR efforts to implement the Dayton peace accords in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With nearly 10,000 troops, France was the third largest troop contributor, after the U.S. and Britain, and was responsible for one of the three geographic sectors and continues to be in SFOR.
Likewise, Germany is standing up a Rapid Reaction Force of some 53,000 fully-equipped troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The first units stood up in 1996 and the force will be fully capable in 1998. In general, German armed forces are in the process of re-creating themselves into a mobile, deployable rather than static home defense force.
The smaller European nations are also improving their forces. For example, the Royal Netherlands Navy and Air Force have improved both their transport and air defense capabilities with new procurements such as: two KDC-10 transport/tankers (the Dutch can now deploy their own F-16s without reliance on the U.S.); an amphibious-lift ship to make the marine brigade self-deployable; and upgrades to their F-16 fleet and their Patriot systems.
THE COSTS OF NOT ENLARGING
Before I leave the topic of costs, I would like to reiterate what the President said in the Administration's February report: the costs of enlargement must be balanced against the costs of not enlarging. If we fail to seize this historic opportunity to help integrate, consolidate and stabilize central and eastern Europe, we may pay a much higher price later. If NATO fails to enlarge, the risk of instability or conflict in the region would rise, with far reaching consequences for the U.S. and our allies. The most cost effective way to guarantee the stability of the region is to do so collectively with our European partners through NATO.
The bottom line is that alliances save money. Collective defense is more cost effective than national defense. NATO will allow the three invitees to acquire the same degree of security their western European neighbors already enjoy and to do so at a lower cost than would otherwise be the case and enhance our own security in the process.
Mr. Chairman, if this century has taught us anything, it has taught us that our security is inextricably tied to peace and security in Europe. We must hold up the lamplight of history so that we do not stumble on the footpath to the future. Most importantly, we can promote U.S. interests by increasing the security and stability of Europe. In so doing, we are building the Europe of the 21st Century in Europe, whole, free and at peace.