U.S. Views of Acquisition Policy
The Honorable David R. Oliver, Jr.
Principal Deputy for the Under Secretary of Defense of the United States
I believe we must not permit a Fortress Europe or Fortress America to develop. It is our responsibility to use this unique opportunity in world historyin which we have no obvious totalitarian threat to our survivalto build on the sacrifices of those in this room, as well as the millions who sacrificed their lives to bring us this opportunity.
The only lengthy peace of modern times was led by England, France, and Germany during the 1800s. This was a peace established by nations that allied themselves as required by the changing geo-political situation. I believe any future extended peace must be based on the same sort of cooperative effort. No nation can go it alone and expect to be successful during the decades of opportunity that beckon.
Why is this a problem? Because, with deference to those here, I believe diplomatic, military, personal, and professional ties are insufficient to prevent economic or political walls from rising, growing, and thickening to grow into fortresses on both sides of the Atlantic. We may not be able to prevent others from building fortress edifices, but we must keep caravans of development and technology trekking and shipping in order to keep drawbridges down on both sides. To make this happen, I believe we must couple transatlantic business interests with national defense, job, and political interests.
In order to facilitate success, the United States is determined to reform the U.S. Export Control regime. This effort was announced by Secretary of State Albright at the NATO Conference in late May, and Secretary Greg Suchan from the State Department has distributed copies of the innovations and reforms at this conference. The essence of Secretary Albrights decision and announcement is to reduce the number of times industry has to touch our government in order to obtain permission to establish joint ventures and share technology.
As Secretary de Leon said, we want to:
- Open the gap between Allied forces and possible opponents;
- Close the gap between our respective military capabilities; and
- Jump the gap between technology innovation by our Allies and that of the United States.
The Departments of State and Defense have pledged to work on the existing problems hard and fast, beginning with the United Kingdom and Australia, with whom we hope to establish new technology security relationships by the end of this summer. We believe export reform efforts are essential to the continued success of NATO and, correspondingly, to the promise of centuries of peace for which you, your fathers, and grandfathers have so long worked and sacrificed.
I ask you to help us by insisting that we maintain our schedule and keep our noses to the grindstone. Please do these things for us:
- Flexibly evaluate the technology security changes we are recommending;
- Be certain to tell us if you sense our resolve is faltering; and
- Provide frequent feedback to both the State and Defense Departments on our program and progress.