Toward a New Europe:
Secure, Peaceful,Free, and Democratic
United States Deputy Secretary of Defense John P. White

The organizers of this NATO Workshop had a wonderful idea when they decided to host a dinner at the beautiful Lazienki Palace. Historically, the palace is linked to King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski, who in 1791 gave Poland something it can be eternally proud of one of the world's first written constitutions. By holding part of the important NATO Workshop at the palace, I hope we will now associate it with something else Poland can be proud of namely, an important contribution to a new Europe that is more free, more peaceful, and more secure.

This new Europe was a place envisioned in a speech given on the other side of the Atlantic 49 years ago. In that speech, an American soldier-statesman described a Europe united from the Atlantic to the Urals in peace and democracy, a Europe participating in a strong and enduring transatlantic partnership sustained by bipartisan political support in the United States. That soldier-statesman was George C. Marshall. In his speech, Marshall set forth what came to be known as the Marshall Plan, which offered Europe a passage toward reconstruction and renewal. Half of Europe embraced the Marshall Plan and opened the door to prosperity and freedom. The other half was denied this passage when Joseph Stalin slammed the door on Marshall's offer of assistance.

Today we have the opportunity to complete the building of a Europe united in peace, freedom, and democracy. As part of the effort to realize this new Europe, NATO is in the process of making both external and internal adaptations. These adaptations will not only aid in the creation of the new Europe-they will also make NATO better prepared to respond to future security challenges there. I want to give you an update on how NATO is progressing on these adaptations and report to you on the steps taken at the recent meetings of NATO Defense Ministers in Brussels and of the Foreign Ministers in Berlin.


The first element of NATO's process of external adaptation is the strengthening of the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program. The Partnership for Peace is NATO's vehicle for integrating the new democracies to our east. PFP is fulfilling President Clinton's vow that we "will not let the Iron Curtain be replaced with a veil of indifference."

Launched two years ago, PFP has become a strong, permanent, expanding fixture in European security. In 1996 we will conduct 15 major exercises and hundreds of other PFP-related activities. One of the most significant of these exercises-Peace Shield '96-was held recently in Ukraine. This was the first multinational military exercise "in the spirit of PFP" ever held on former Soviet soil.

Exercises like Peace Shield '96 are important because they help teach soldiers of Partner nations how to cooperate and communicate with NATO forces and with each other while learning how to tackle such post-Cold War military missions as peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief, and search and rescue. They also provide an important political benefit by helping us bridge old Cold War chasms and build personal ties of cooperation, trust, and understanding.

As we all know, however, PFP is about much more than just military exercises. It is also about helping Partner nations build modern military establishments under democratic, civilian control. Thanks, in part, to PFP, many Partners are now submitting their defense plans to their parliaments for approval, and working together in the defense Planning and Review Process at NATO Headquarters, in much the same manner as NATO countries do. Many Partner nations are also striving to make their military forces interoperable with NATO.

We are also seeing many PFP members make political and economic reforms that go well beyond the security sphere. Many Partner nations are working hard to uphold democracy, tolerate diversity, respect the rights of minorities, and assure freedom of expression. These countries are also endeavoring to build market economies, be good neighbors, and respect sovereign rights outside their borders.

Strengthening Partnership for Peace

To keep the momentum behind PFP going, a number of ideas were put forward in Berlin and Brussels for strengthening it. Many of these ideas centered around making NATO and PFP forces more compatible and interoperable. For example, we agreed to make the PFP Planning and Review Process more like NATO force planning. Among other things, this will help us develop more specific goals to guide Partners as they attempt to make their forces more compatible with NATO's. However, we continue to believe that the key to becoming interoperable with NATO is not spending scarce dollars on expensive equipment, but rather focusing on "low-cost/high-yield" measures such as adopting common doctrine, technology, and training procedures, and more English language training.

At our meetings we also looked at ways to build on the success of PFP exercises by making them even better. For instance, we agreed that an evaluation process should be created to measure the effectiveness of PFP activities. We also agreed that there is a need to increase Partner participation in exercise planning from the ground up by assigning Partner representatives to NATO's subordinate commands. Building on the experiences of our Partners in NATO's operations in Bosnia, we agreed to increase the number and complexity of PFP exercises to include peace enforcement.

While strengthening PFP is the responsibility of NATO as a whole, in Brussels we discussed the need for individual NATO nations to build mentor relationships with individual Partner countries-particularly those whose resource constraints prevent them from doing as much in PFP as they would like. The United States, for example, takes pride in the Warsaw Initiative and the Regional Airspace Initiative. Denmark has played a leading role in the creation of the BALTBAT, and I welcome Danish Defense Minister Hæ's offer to host a Baltic Defense Ministerial this fall. Other NATO members can also strengthen PFP by coming forward with similar initiatives. Let us do more.

We also need to work harder at building healthy civil-military relations. Partner states, for example, need to have open, democratic processes for developing their defense and security strategies. These should be drafted by the civilian-led Defense Ministry in cooperation with the military staff, approved by the head of state, submitted to parliament, and made available to the public.

Achieving this goal may require learning new skills. NATO nations can help by developing mentor relationships with Partner nations in order to promote these reforms by instruction and example. Seminars are also beneficial, such as the one in Garmisch, Germany, last April, and require greater participation by defense civilians from the Allied nations. I would urge that we consider special regional conferences on this issue as well.

A strong PFP will provide new democracies that are not ready or do not wish to become NATO members with continued opportunities to develop closer ties to NATO and to participate in European security affairs. It will also provide these Partner nations with continued opportunities to build cooperative bonds amongst themselves. In short, far from fading in importance, we believe that PFP must assume even greater importance for all participants.

Moving Ahead with Alliance Enlargement

All of the measures I have mentioned are critical to PFP's success. They are also critical to NATO's plans to move ahead with enlargement. Last fall, NATO completed its study on the "how"and "why" of enlargement. We are now proceeding with the second phase of the process and will soon establish a timetable and define a process for accession of new members. We expect to decide on the next steps in December. At the Brussels meeting in June, building on President Clinton's initiative of two years before, NATO renewed its commitment to proceeding with the gradual, deliberate, and steady process of outreach and enlargement to the east. As Secretary Perry said, "NATO will be larger. Expansion is moving along as planned."

We are determined to move forward on enlargement. But even as NATO takes in some new members, the Alliance is not implying the exclusion of others. The original North Atlantic Alliance grew from 12 to the current 16 members over a period of about 50 years. The next new NATO members will not be the last. We will not create a new division of the continent or undercut reform efforts in countries not ready or not interested in joining NATO.

Building Relations Between NATO and Russia

As the enlargement process moves ahead, and as we engage all the new European democracies through a strengthened PFP, we must advance the third element of NATO external adaptation-building cooperative relations between NATO and Russia. Russia has been a key player in Europe's security for over 300 years. It will remain a key player in the coming decades-but will it play a negative role or a positive one- Obviously, we all want it to be positive. And there is cause for some optimism.

First of all, Russia is currently in the midst of a democratic election. We need to remember that this simple statement would have been cause for astonishment fewer than five years ago. We do not yet know the outcome of the election, but the fact that the election is taking place is ultimately more important than who wins. Building a free and fair electoral process is an end in and of itself-it is one of the first steps that a country should take to become part of the new Europe that we all envision.

The second cause for optimism is Russia's record of cooperation with the United States over the past several years. We are making significant progress in our efforts to dismantle our Cold War nuclear arsenals and to prevent the spread of nuclear technology to rogue nations.

The third reason to be optimistic is that Russia is participating in the Partnership for Peace program. For instance, Russia played a prominent role in the Peace Shield '96 military exercises just three weeks ago. NATO welcomes Russia's participation in PFP, and we would like to see more. Indeed, we hope that over time Russia will take on a leading role in PFP commensurate with its status as a great country.

A fourth cause for optimism is the well-established NATO-Russia practice of dialogue and cooperation. NATO and Russia have agreed to cooperate on a wide range of topics, and have held a number of useful consultations. Our ongoing cooperation in Bosnia has been remarkable.

It is important for NATO and Russia to continue building on their common ground, even when there are disagreements. It is fair to say that many in Russia consider NATO a threat. While we cannot gloss over these concerns, they will not be a roadblock to enlargement. In fact, we hope that Russia will soon acknowledge the growing evidence that NATO is not a threat. The more that Russia deepens its involvement with NATO, the more I believe that Russia will recognize this. Ultimately, I believe that Russia will come to understand that NATO enlargement means enlargement of a zone of security and stability that is very much in Russia's interest.

Meanwhile, we cannot let our disagreements over NATO enlargement get in the way of "here and now" opportunities to work together. Currently the United States is reaching out to Russia with a program of bilateral training exercises. Our goal is to expand NATO-Russia cooperation across the board-both within PFP and within the broader NATO-Russia "16 plus 1" relationship. Secretary Perry noted after the Brussels conference that cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on disarmament and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is likely to continue regardless of the outcome of the Russian elections because that cooperation is in the security interests of both parties. The same holds true, he stated, concerning expanded cooperation between Russia and NATO.

At the Brussels conference, the Russian Defense Minister met with the NATO Defense Ministers in a "16 plus 1" format to discuss ways of further expanding and institutionalizing the NATO-Russia cooperative relationship. The discussion was positive and productive, and we look forward to continuing this work in the coming months.

A recent springboard for expanded cooperation between NATO and Russia has been our work together in Bosnia. Today a Russian brigade is serving in a multinational division of IFOR. At NATO Headquarters, Russian General Shevtsov is serving as the operation's liaison to NATO. General Shevtsov and General Lentsov in Bosnia are in close contact with their NATO counterparts, General Joulwan and General Nash, every day.

It took an enormous amount of work by all parties to make this cooperative venture work. But it has been worth it-not just because of the additional troops Russia brings to Bosnia, but because Russia's participation in Bosnia will have a positive impact on the security of Europe for years to come.

Not long ago, while at SHAPE Headquarters, I saw General Shevtsov with a NATO secure phone on his desk. I was struck by how far we have come. We used to have secure phones at SHAPE Headquarters so that we could talk about NATO operations without the Russians listening to us. Now we use secure phones to talk to the Russians about our combined operations.

Making this arrangement permanent--as was discussed in Brussels--will allow Russia to gain a greater understanding of how NATO works, how NATO countries interact, and how further military cooperation among NATO countries, other Partner countries, and Russia can foster trust and understanding.


In addition to helping show us the way on NATO-Russia relations--a key element of NATO external adaptations--our work in Bosnia has also given NATO a boost in moving forward on internal adaptations. Our mission in Bosnia may well be representative of the new types of roles that NATO must be prepared to take on. In order to tackle such roles, NATO must adapt internally to become both more flexible and more efficient.

In my career as a businessman, an academic, and a defense official, I have spent a good deal of my time studying how institutions change. And I know that the hardest institutions to persuade that change is necessary are often those that, like NATO, have been successful but still need to change. It is much easier to persuade institutions in crisis that change is necessary. But change we must.

Increasing NATO Flexibility

NATO needs to become more flexible because we no longer face a monolithic threat to which a unified response by all 16 NATO members is the only conceivable option. Instead, we face a variety of security threats that do not all call for the same type of response. To meet these different challenges, we have worked hard to develop a planning and deployment mechanism that allows for more flexibility in the use of NATO forces and involves different mixes of assets from contributing nations. We call this mechanism a Combined Joint Task Force, or CJTF.

Creating an enduring CJTF structure that is satisfactory to all 16 current member countries has been difficult, but we have made significant progress. In the field, we have put aside our theoretical differences about how a hypothetical CJTF would work, and found a way to put together a real live CJTF, namely, NATO's IFOR. We now have the opportunity to combine the practical lessons we learned in putting together IFOR with the theoretical framework developed at NATO Headquarters.

We intend to keep this momentum going. In Berlin, in early June, NATO's Foreign Ministers announced an agreement on a political-military framework for CJTF. And in Brussels last week, the Defense Ministers directed the North Atlantic Council to further refine and implement those arrangements. Ultimately, the CJTF will allow the European members of NATO to strengthen their new security and defense identity. This new flexibility will permit such tasks as operations led by the Western European Union using NATO assets.

Increasing NATO Efficiency

In addition to becoming more flexible, NATO also needs to become more efficient. In some ways, NATO was not well structured for the Bosnia mission. Our command and decision-making structures were geared almost exclusively towards executing a known plan with designated forces against a known adversary. Using IFOR involves much greater uncertainty. Putting it together showed us that we have a real need to streamline and modernize NATO's internal procedures.

NATO's military authorities are now taking a long, hard look at how to make our command structure more responsive and more flexible, how to streamline planning and force-preparation procedures, and how to simplify and speed up the entire decision-making process. We look forward to receiving the report that will contain their recommended changes this fall.


The goal of NATO's internal adaptations is to allow all the Allies to work together more effectively to meet new and changing security needs. But some things will not change: NATO will continue to be a transatlantic alliance; the United States will continue to play a leading role in NATO. Bosnia has taught us that NATO still operates best when we are all together. We hope that everyone on both sides of the Atlantic has learned that lesson, and that NATO will continue to operate as a group on all of its major missions. The United States has been a full partner for the last 50 years. It will remain so as the Alliance changes and grows.

The internal adaptations NATO is making now will make the Alliance better prepared to respond to future challenges to European security and stability. The changes will encourage a greater European role and will facilitate full French participation in NATO's military bodies. They will also help prepare NATO for enlargement. And they will help NATO build the Europe that George Marshall spoke about 49 years ago when he proposed the Marshall Plan. At that time, Marshall told America that it must "face up to the responsibility which history has placed upon our country." Today, this responsibility has been placed not only upon America, but also upon all the nations of Europe. All of us must face up to the responsibility to help realize a Europe that is more secure, more peaceful, more free, and more democratic.

The Warsaw Workshop--like the recent meetings in Berlin and in Brussels-- is proof that we are, in fact, meeting this responsibility. As Secretary Perry said in Brussels, echoing President Clinton's words, "The future of NATO is bright. NATO will be stronger and more united. NATO will continue to expand its zone of stability and flexibility through the Partnership for Peace. NATO will be larger. NATO will build a special relationship with Russia. NATO will be more flexible. And the United States cannot be secure if Europe is not secure. So the United States will continue to play a leading role in NATO."

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