As we held the Thirteenth NATO Workshop in historic Warsaw, we were reminded that Poland is a vital part of Europe--politically, culturally, socially, and geographically. We in NATO value Poland's friendship, and welcome Poland as a partner and a true friend. We also appreciate Poland's contribution to Operation Joint Endeavour and to the Bosnian Implementation Force. Since Poland hosted the first PFP exercise two years ago, it has been one of our most active Partners. I applaud the efforts of General Wilecki and his government in taking such a positive role in the Partnership for Peace program.
All of us at the Workshop were delighted to be in Warsaw as the city celebrated its 400th anniversary as the capital of Poland, and as Poland demonstrated its renewed commitment to peace with freedom, democracy, and a free market economy.
The NATO Workshop held two years ago in Bergen, Norway, was the first NATO Workshop I attended as the Supreme Allied Commander. At that Workshop I laid out my vision of a new NATO: one that was more agile and flexible, committed to adaptation, and in which the initiatives of the January 1994 Summit--Partnership for Peace Combined Joint Task Force--would play a major role. This new NATO would learn from the past but not live in the past, and would plan for the future. The new NATO would be committed to a European Defense and Security Identity within a strong transatlantic alliance.
At Bergen we developed these ideas into a strategic concept based on clear political guidance from the North Atlantic Council. Last year at Dresden we further refined the concept and discussed the initial success of Partnership for Peace. We also discussed the great potential PFP had to create conditions for success if and when NATO and its new Partners had to act together in a future out-of-area mission.
Today, we stand at a defining moment in the history of the Alliance. We have taken the theories discussed in the past two workshops--PFP and CJTF--and put them into practice in Bosnia. NATO has been joined by 16 non-NATO nations in bringing peace to the Balkans. And at the June Workshop, precisely, we were at D+183 days, or exactly at the midpoint of our year's mandate.
Let me be clear: how successful we are in Operation Joint Endeavour and how successful we are in IFOR's mission in Bosnia will directly affect the theme of this year's NATO Workshop--European security at the beginning of a new century. If we are successful--and we must be successful--then indeed a new security framework is possible for Europe, one based on mutual trust and confidence, and on shared risks and shared values. As our Secretary General Solana said, our priority is success in Bosnia. With such a success, adaptation has special meaning. With such a success, opening the Alliance to new members and enlargement will enhance an already credible alliance.
So you can see how important I believe this Workshop is to the future of NATO and to the future of peace and stability in Europe. We have the opportunity to discuss informally the challenges and opportunities we face as we approach the next millennium. Each of the past two Workshops has given us insights and ideas for the way ahead. With our involvement in Bosnia, with the recent Ministerials in Berlin and Brussels, with the great potential for peace and stability and a Europe whole and free, this Workshop could not have come at a better time. And we have all the right participants to make it a memorable conference:
Operation Joint Endeavour has demonstrated that NATO procedures and doctrine work. Admiral Smith gives you an operational update in remarks that follow, but let me share with you now some of my thoughts at the strategic military level.
The political approval for Joint Endeavour's operations plan and funding was quickly achieved. This was extremely important if we were to be successful on the ground. I still recall the North Atlantic Council session on December 16 when the Council approved deployment in response to the SACEUR's simple but clear recommendation: "Let's go." At 1100 hours on December 20, NATO assumed command from UNPROFOR and immediately went about its mission. Bunkers and checkpoints were knocked down. A clear signal was given that a new organization was in charge--NATO.
The French and British units already in Bosnia were particularly robust. The French cleared 40 checkpoints around Sarajevo by D+7 and set the tone for Operation Joint Endeavour. Within two weeks the Americans had built a bridge over the Sava River in absolutely terrible weather conditions and were soon streaming into Bosnia. Other nations quickly joined the Implementation Force.
In 30 days the former warring factions (FWF) were separated by 4 kms over a 1000+ km confrontation line; in 45 days land was transferred; in 90 days the gaining party took control of the new land; in 120 days a 10-km Zone of Surveillance (ZOS) was imposed and FWF began complying with confidence-building measures to withdraw all heavy weapons and forces to cantonment areas and barracks. After 180 days, that withdrawal was nearly complete.
I mention this to you because success in Bosnia took cooperation by many elements of our Alliance. Clearly our commanders on the ground and the troops played a key role, but so did our political and military authorities who had the courage to provide clear and timely guidance. So did the SHAPE staff and Major Subordinate Commanders (MSCs) who initially generated, balanced, and deployed the force from over 30 countries and deployed it during the worst winter in recent years into the most difficult terrain in Europe. And so did our Partners who joined us in this historic endeavor. It was a team effort. And several members of that team, including my deputy SACEUR and the three major subordinate commanders, will share their thoughts in remarks that follow. I am extremely proud of them.
If we are to succeed in the final six months of this operation, that team effort must continue. We have a great challenge ahead of us as we make the transition from primary military tasks to support for civilian agencies. Included in that challenge will be finding a way to stay within mission guidance and be proactive in our support of civilian agencies. But we must find a way to do so. Clearly there will be risks for our troops. But we must take risks for peace. To accomplish only our military tasks and not the civilian tasks set out in the Dayton Peace Agreement would lead to overall mission failure. We need the same zeal we demonstrated on December 20 last year--the same focus, the same commitment. The people of Bosnia deserve a chance to breathe free air in a multicultural, multiethnic state called Bosnia-Herzegovina. Clearly the parties themselves bear the primary responsibility for complying with the Dayton Peace Agreement, but IFOR must continue to be the catalyst for compliance during the next six months of the mission. I know it will be.
Partnership for Peace is playing a major role in creating a new security relationship in Europe. Twenty-seven nations have now joined the PFP program; 20 have liaison officers at my headquarters in Mons, Belgium; and 12 have forces with us in Bosnia. There are 43 flags arranged alphabetically, from Albania to Uzbekistan, in the Partnership Coordination Cell building at Mons. Clearly we have now put theory into practice. This is the new Europe. This is the opportunity we have for the future.
As I said last year in Dresden, the aim of PFP is to have NATO and its Partners work together to develop common standards, common procedures, and common doctrine. In 1994, the first year of PFP, we held four exercises, the first of which was held here in Poland. Eleven exercises were held in 1995 and ten in 1996, including two in the United States. That work is now paying off in IFOR in Bosnia.
But we are not just exercising together; we are also developing trust and confidence in one another, particularly between the militaries of NATO and our Partner nations. I felt that trust and confidence throughout the Workshop. We are more than just partners, we are friends. And it is this friendship that is so important in the new NATO and the new Europe as we approach the next century.
We will continue to develop PFP with our Partners and I urge a discussion on how we see this initiative at the two-year mark and on what the way is ahead. Clearly enlargement is on the minds of many nations. But as we discuss enlargement let us not forget the continuing contribution PFP has made and will continue to make in creating a more secure and stable Europe.
As a final note to my thoughts on Partnership for Peace, let me mention Russia. As you know, Russia is a signatory to the Framework Document for PFP, and is playing an important role in Bosnia. I have a three-star colonel-general as my deputy for Russian forces. We have worked out procedures and principles between NATO and Russia, and Russian and NATO troops are operating well together in Bosnia. We need to continue to nurture this relationship--especially now--reducing the suspicion and building the trust, confidence, and respect so essential to both entities.
For the past few years, SHAPE and Allied Command Europe have been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of adaptation. But as we adapt we must not forget the glue that holds us together--the integrated multinational structures, the transatlantic link, the shared values and ideals. And as we adapt, NATO must remain cognizant of its wider role--as a rock of stability in a still unstable, uncertain world.
What an historic opportunity we have to build a Europe whole and free! To finish the work begun by General Marshall nearly 50 years ago. And to do so not by building walls or isolating any country, but rather by building bridges between us, including our neighbors to the east and to the south. Indeed, many of the Mediterranean nations have joined us in Bosnia. Much is being learned now in our IFOR deployment. We have established a Lessons Learned Group, and those lessons will be applied to the military advice we give on adaptation. Clearly we want structures and commands that reflect current political realities, but we also want structures and commands that can achieve success across the entire spectrum of conflicts and challenges facing us in the 21st century. Again, I urge your attention to this important topic.
Those of you in industry have a unique and important role to play in the new NATO and the new Europe. As I said last year in Dresden, we need your ideas, your energy, your imagination, and your technology. As we get smaller in force structure, we must get more capable, and this means continuing to develop and procure technology not only at the high end of the spectrum but also at the lower end. Operation Joint Endeavour has demonstrated the need for such technology.
Clearly the future of this Alliance is in multinational operations. But we have yet to come to grips with such challenges as multinational communications, multinational logistics, and multinational intelligence requirements. If the multinational commander is to succeed in the crises or conflicts of the next century, he or she is going to need the best tools to get the job done. And that includes Alliance Ground Surveillance System and Theater Missile Defense. It also includes a CJTF Headquarters with a multinational force that is able to do all the things we expect a national headquarters to do--only better. So I urge our friends in industry to work with us in designing systems that will assist us in our endeavors as the Alliance and its Partners approach the 21st century.
To those from the nations of the Alliance, let me also say that we must match requirements with resources. Those resources include force structure and infrastructure, as well as modernization and capability packages.
The Workshop is taking place at an historic time in one of the great capitals of Europe. I wish to again thank our host, President Kwasniewski, and the Polish government for their hospitality and for their friendship. I am optimistic for the future and indeed excited at the possible outcomes the Workshop promises. As we go forward, I believe we can work together to shape a new Alliance and a new Europe, where hope, peace, freedom, and prosperity for our nations are all possible, where the dignity and worth of the individual is respected and protected, and where dialogue and cooperation replace conflict and fear. I am thankful that you all have joined us in Warsaw. You give hope to our children and grandchildren for a better world.
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