Center for Strategic Decision Research


What Has Changed After 11 September?: Introductory Remarks

Mr. Alfred Volkman
Director for International Cooperation,
Office of the United States Under Secretary of Defense,
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics

In answer to the question, "What has changed since September 11?," I believe that there have not been a lot of changes. We have the same problems to address, only we must do a better job of addressing them. We must do it more seriously, and with a greater sense of urgency. The following are some of the main issues that were brought to the forefront by the attacks of September 11 and that I believe we should discuss. 


Certainly one of the biggest issues that needs to be addressed is the ability of European forces to participate in coalition operations with the United States. I think most of us agree that there is a significant difference in capabilities between U.S. and European forces, most notably seen in the two forces' ability to rapidly deploy to military theaters far from home, to practice network centric warfare, and to employ precision-guided munitions. Operation Enduring Freedom highlighted the deficiencies. The attempt by the NATO Defense Capabilities Initiative to address such deficiencies has been generally acknowledged, even by Lord Robertson, the person responsible for implementing the Initiative, as less than satisfactory. 

In the past, many in the U.S. have viewed with some skepticism European intentions to form a 60,000-man Rapid Reaction Force. But there is now a growing realization in the U.S. that a European force must be formed that can operate effectively and on equal terms with U.S. forces. This force would be kept at high readiness, backed with transport assets, trained for expeditionary missions, and exercise regularly with U.S. forces. Had such a force existed in 2001, it could have been deployed alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan. So I think one of the issues we must address is if Europe has the political will to form such a force and if the U.S. will share the technologies necessary for this force to have the same military capabilities as U.S. forces. 


We must also address the issue of missile defense. The attacks of September 11 heightened America's sense of vulnerability to those who would do evil to the U.S. solely out of hatred. Many Europeans have that same feeling of vulnerability. But the attacks of September 11 also served to strengthen U.S. resolve to develop a missile-defense capability. The U.S. is beginning to explore with our Allies the possibility of cooperative missile-defense efforts focused both on military forces and national homelands. European industry has indicated a willingness to cooperate in a missile-defense program. So we should ask if Europe as well as our Pacific allies are willing to join the U.S. in a cooperative missile-defense program. 


The last issue we should address is cooperation with Russia. The war on terrorism has strengthened cooperation between the United States and Russia. A Russian colonel serves on General Tommy Franks's staff at U.S. Central Command headquarters. A Russian general serves as a deputy to General Ralston at NATO. U.S. Special Forces and their Russian counterparts worked together in the Balkans and in Afghanistan. So our question here is, "Will the threat of international terrorism, particularly from Islamic extremists, continue to strengthen U.S.-Russia cooperation, or will diverging interests tear the United States and Russia apart?" 
































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