U.S. Works To Boost NATO Smart Defense
PARIS — The U.S. authorities are looking to lower the bureaucratic hurdles to a multilateral military cooperation in Europe as part of NATO’s smart defense concept of pooling and sharing of capabilities, a senior official said June 11.
The Office of Defense Cooperation seeks “to leverage our bilateral activity to support the nations in Europe’s aspirations for their multilateral capabilities,” Michael Ryan, deputy director for security cooperation and Office of Defense Cooperation operations in US European Command, said June 11 at the Eurosatory trade show.
The U.S. authorities will also work “to ensure that the most promising smart defense projects relate to the most needed operational requirements and then to facilitate that cooperation using the good offices of NATO and the European Defense Agency,” Ryan said.
At the Chicago NATO summit in May, the alliance committed to pursue a greater pooling of national capabilities under the smart defense approach, which involves moving to a multilateral system.
That move to a multilateral model raises problems on obtaining U.S. military clearances which are signed on a bilateral basis with a specified partner country.
U.S. cooperation includes exercises with countries, procuring equipment, and invitation to training with American forces, Ryan said.
The US authorities will work to see “that those activities, where possible, also support their multilateral capabilities and development requirements.”
For example, the European Air Transport Command airlift requires export licences from the State Department for cargo of U.S. origin. That takes weeks of waiting, which is no way to run a military operation, Ryan said.
The financial crisis, meanwhile, will encourage the shift to a greater pooling and sharing of capabilities as countries will find it harder to maintain national forces, he said.
The Office of Defense Cooperation manages bilateral security relations between the United States and partner countries.