Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 42, December 1999
NATO MeetingsNorth Atlantic Council (NAC):Defence Ministers' Meeting
Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers Session held in Brussels, December 2, 1999.
"… 19. We underline the risk to international and regional stability posed by the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. We urge all countries to accede to and fully implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime. We are determined to achieve progress on a legally
binding protocol including effective verification measures to enhance compliance and promote transparency that strengthens the implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. We emphasise the importance of universal accession and adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
20. The Alliance is making progress in implementing the Weapons of Mass Destruction Initiative (WMDI). The new Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre will improve co-ordination of all WMD-related activities at NATO Headquarters, as well as strengthen non-proliferation related political consultations and defence efforts to improve the preparedness of the Alliance. We look forward to establishing the WMD Centre in early 2000. Significant progress has been made in defining the tasks of the WMD Centre. The specifications of a WMD intelligence and information database are under active consideration, with the aim of improving the quality and increasing the quantity of intelligence and information-sharing among Allies. Finally, we are continuing to prepare for renewed consultations with Russia under the Permanent Joint Council on these matters, and we welcome the initiation of proliferation-related discussions with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. We are determined to improve our capabilities to address appropriately and effectively the risks associated with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, which also pose a potential threat to the Allies' populations, territory and forces. …
29. The Agreement on the Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul on 19 November, will ensure the continuing viability of the CFE Treaty as a cornerstone of European security and stability. The Allies made comprehensive proposals which served as an important basis for the negotiations, in particular for the introduction of a system of nationally based equipment limits and improvements to the Treaty provisions concerning stability, transparency and predictability. The Adapted Treaty will enhance security throughout Europe, not least as it introduces a more constraining structure of National and Territorial Ceilings, while permitting sufficient deployment flexibility for routine training purposes and effective crisis management, thereby ensuring NATO's ability to fulfil its responsibilities. We are pleased that the Adapted Treaty will permit accession by new States Parties and strengthen Treaty requirements concerning host nation consent to the presence of foreign forces.
30. We welcome the important political commitments contained in the CFE Final Act, in particular the bilateral agreements reached by Russia and Georgia, and Russia and Moldova, on withdrawal of Russian Forces. But it is essential that the CFE Treaty remains effective and credible. NATO countries are concerned about continued Russian non-compliance with the Treaty's Article V ("flank") limits. We note Russia's commitment to comply with all the Treaty's provisions and limitations. We also note Russia's assurances that its exceeding of CFE limits will be of a temporary nature. NATO Allies expect Russia to honour its pledge to comply with CFE limits as soon as possible and, in the meantime, to provide maximum transparency regarding its forces and weapons deployed in the North Caucasus, in accordance with the CFE Treaty and the Vienna Document. Entry into force of the Adapted Treaty can only be envisaged in the context of compliance by all States Parties with the Treaty's limitations. It is on this basis that we will work towards bringing the Adapted Treaty into force. Pending the completion of this process, the continued implementation of the existing Treaty and its associated documents remains crucial.
31. The Alliance attaches importance to preserving strategic stability. In this respect, we call on Russia to ratify the START II Treaty without delay. This would pave the way for considerable reductions of nuclear arsenals and would allow negotiations on a START III Treaty aiming at further far-reaching reductions on nuclear weapons stockpiles. We remain committed to an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and call upon all countries to accede to and implement the Treaty as soon as possible. We support the early conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. …"
Source: Full text of the communiqué is on the NATO website at: http://www.nato.int/
Defence Planning Committee (DPC) & Nuclear Planning Group (NPG): Defence Ministers' Meeting
"Ministerial Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group, Final Communiqué, M-DPC/NPG-2 (99) 157", December 2, 1999.
"1. The Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 2 December 1999. …
6. In this, our first meeting as the Nuclear Planning Group since the Washington Summit, we confirmed the principles underpinning the nuclear forces of the Allies as set out in the new Strategic Concept. These forces continue to have a fundamental political purpose: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. They play an essential role by ensuring uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor about the nature of the Allies' response to military aggression, and by providing an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe, at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability. Taking account of the present security situation, we affirmed that the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by Allies are extremely remote.
7. We emphasized that since 1991, in the context of the improved security environment and in keeping with the Alliance's stated principle of keeping its forces at the minimum sufficient level, NATO has reduced the types and numbers of its sub-strategic nuclear forces by over 85 percent. These reductions included the complete elimination of all nuclear artillery and ground-launched missiles. Furthermore, NATO has significantly relaxed the readiness criteria for nuclear-roled forces.
8. We affirmed that arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation - with the stability, transparency, predictability, lower levels of armaments, and verification they can provide - will continue to play a major role in the achievement of NATO's security objectives. Alliance work in these areas is ongoing as a contribution to the Washington Summit remit. We reviewed evolving threats from proliferant states. We reaffirmed our belief that Alliance forces deter the use of weapons of mass destruction, thus contributing to the Alliance goal of preventing the proliferation of these weapons and their delivery means. All Allies support the central treaties related to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and are committed to full implementation of these treaties. With a view to the upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in Spring 2000, we reaffirmed our full support of the Treaty and our continued commitment to efforts aimed at reducing nuclear weapons; we urged all countries which have not yet done so to accede to and fully implement the NPT. We continue to urge the Russian Federation to ratify START II so that the benefits of this treaty can be reaped and negotiations on a START III treaty can be set in train. We continue to support the ratification, early entry into force, and full implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
9. Firmly committed to our partnership with Russia under the NATO-Russia Founding Act, we stand ready to resume reciprocal exchanges with Russia on nuclear weapons issues, and thus we reviewed possible next steps in such consultations. In this context, we note with concern that Russia appears to be moving towards a greater reliance on nuclear forces to ensure its security. We renew our call on Russia to review further its tactical nuclear weapons stockpile with a view toward making significant reductions. We look forward to further consultations on these issues. We welcomed plans by the United States to establish, in cooperation with Russia, a temporary joint Centre for Year 2000 Strategic Stability to deal with possible computer errors in either nation's missile attack warning systems. This is an important cooperative step towards ensuring overall nuclear safety and security.
10. We are pleased to note that Alliance nuclear forces, command and control systems and nuclear support infrastructure have been thoroughly reviewed and found to be fully compliant with the requirements of the changeover to the next millennium. …"
Source: The full text of the communiqué is on the NATO website at: http://www.nato.int/
North Atlantic Council (NAC): Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council held at NATO Headquarters, Final Communiqué, Brussels, December 15, 1999.
"…38. We reaffirm that arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to play an important role in the achievement of NATO's security objectives. …
41. The Alliance attaches importance to preserving strategic stability. In this respect, we call on Russia to ratify the START II Treaty without delay. This would pave the way for considerable reductions of nuclear arsenals and would allow negotiations on a START III Treaty
aiming at further far-reaching reductions on nuclear weapons stockpiles. We underscore the importance of achieving a successful conclusion to the upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in Spring 2000. In this context, we reiterate our full support of all efforts towards universal adherence, full implementation and further strengthening the NPT as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We reaffirm our commitment to efforts aimed at reducing nuclear weapons.
We remain committed to an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and call upon all countries to accede to and implement the Treaty as soon as possible. We call for the early start of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.
42. The prevention of the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery remains our primary aim. We remain committed to preventing proliferation and reversing it where it has occurred through diplomatic means. We recognise that proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery, which pose a potential threat to the Allies' populations, territory and forces, can continue to occur despite our preventive efforts and can pose a direct military threat to those populations, territories and forces.
We continue to attach the utmost importance to full implementation and rigorous verification of international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. We note with satisfaction that the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention is proceeding well and welcome the progress made in the negotiations in Geneva on a legally binding Protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention by ensuring effective verification measures to enhance compliance and promote transparency. We urge that additional efforts be made to complete the remaining work as soon as possible before the Fifth Review Conference of the BWC in 2001.
43. We welcome the progress made by the Alliance in implementing the Initiative on Weapons of Mass Destruction. NATO's new WMD Centre, which we expect to be operational in early 2000, will provide an effective additional means to address both the political and defence challenges of the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery, and will promote more active and regular intra-Alliance consultations and co-operation on this important issue. Significant progress has been made in setting in place an enhanced WMD intelligence database and information repository, which will aim at improving the quality and increasing the quantity of intelligence and information sharing among Allies to support efforts by NATO members to address proliferation issues. We support deepening consultations with Russia in these areas within the Permanent Joint Council, as well as with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission and with other Partners in the EAPC, as well as with the Mediterranean Dialogue countries.
44. At the Washington Summit, our leaders committed the Alliance to consider options for confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament, in the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons. We have decided to set in train this process and have instructed the Council in Permanent Session to task the Senior Political Committee, reinforced by political and defence experts as appropriate, to review Alliance policy options in support of confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation, and arms control and disarmament, so that a comprehensive and integrated approach to the accomplishment of the remit agreed at the Washington Summit is ensured. The responsible NATO bodies will contribute to this review. We have directed the Council in Permanent Session to submit a report to Ministers for their consideration in December 2000. We believe that this process will reinforce the Allies' contribution in advancing confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament. …"
Cohen On European Security and National Missile Defence
Press Conference at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, December 2, 1999.
"This meeting is taking place at a very important time, as we review the lessons of Operation Allied Force. Allies on both sides of the Atlantic recognize that we need new capabilities for a new century.
In his first defense ministers' meeting as Secretary General, George Robertson stressed that all members of the Alliance must do more to improve NATO's strength. European Allies are recognizing this as they prepare for the European Council meeting in Helsinki.
At their recent summits, leaders of the U.K., France, and Germany agreed to work together to build forces that are more able to deploy more quickly and fight more effectively for longer periods of time. The United States is taking similar action by making our forces more deployable and by purchasing new and better precision munitions. European leaders also agreed to avoid duplication as they work to improve their defenses, and these are important commitments, and it is important that everyone realizes the need to turn promises into performance.
A stronger Europe means a stronger Alliance, and a stronger Alliance is able to deter the threats and maintain peace and stability.
Let me entertain your questions.
Q: I realize that President Clinton has made no decision yet on ballistic missile defense. If the United States decides that it is in its national interest to do this, would you put the ABM treaty aside and put the START treaties at risk in order to build a missile defense?
Secretary Cohen: First, as you indicated, no decision has been made. Secondly, I should indicate that only one person could make the recommendation, and that is the President of the United States. Third, I would also indicate what George Robertson most recently stated here at this podium - that no decision will be made until next year. At that time, the President will consider many factors: the technological aspects of the NMD, questions about our relations with the Russians, questions about the importance of consulting with our allies and their opinions and taking it all into account, as well at the threat that has been emerging. So, those factors will all be taken into account by the President before he makes a decision. I did take the occasion today to lay out the architecture of what an NMD would look like, should the President decide to go forward. But I think it is very much premature to speculate what will happen next year.
Q: Mister Secretary, regarding the allies' reactions, there are concerns about this proposed ballistic missile defense. Are you confident that Britain and Denmark would agreed to upgrade their radar tracking system in order to build this system? Secondly, have Britain and France expressed any concern about the potential impact on their own nuclear deterrence if ballistic missile technology is built by the United States and then passed on elsewhere in the world?
Secretary Cohen: A number of issues were discussed during the course of the luncheon meeting today. First of all, with respect to our European friends, they have raised issues about their deterrent and issues about de-coupling as well as about whether this would be something they might be interested in themselves - is this some kind of technology that the European nations would perhaps be interested in. So, we covered the full panoply of issues. The United States would have to have the support of our allies to have an effective system. We believe it is important that we discuss the issue with them and lay out the nature of the threat - we had a threat briefing this morning - and to explain in great detail the nature of the system that might be deployed should the President decide to go forward next year. All of that was discussed. I think it is important for the allied countries to understand the threat is real; that it will, in all likelihood, intensify in the coming years as countries continue to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities; and that it would put at risk their populations as well as their forward deployed troops. So we discussed a full range of issues involved and I expect to continue this discussion throughout the coming year.
Q: Secretary Cohen, given the European Allies questions about the U.S. plans for possible missile defense… do you see a trend in which increasingly the U.S., Europe, and NATO are going their separate ways? Do you think any of these stress points weaken the Alliance in any way?
Secretary Cohen: As Secretary Robertson just indicated to all of you, the NATO Alliance has never been stronger. This was a very positive meeting today where we had a full range of discussions and we will have these discussions continue tomorrow. This is precisely what nineteen democracies should do. We should raise issues of mutual concern; we should discuss them, debate them if necessary and ultimately resolve them. That is the essence of a democratic system. That is precisely what we have here, nineteen democracies that treasure the ability to engage in this kind of free and open debate and discussion. I would say to the contrary, that the Alliance is strong today, and by virtue of the kind of openness that we have and under leadership of Secretary Robertson, that will only strengthen the future. So I see no cracks as such developing in the institution.
The issue has come up as far as ESDI, the European Security Defense Identity. For many years, members of Congress have been asking Europeans to assume a greater share of the burden. That is precisely what is involved with ESDI: to strengthen a European pillar of the NATO Alliance. We welcome this, and as long as it is understood - as Secretary General Robertson outlined to you - that this is done within the context of having a European capability that will strengthen NATO itself, there is no ground for this speculation that somehow, this is leading to a division between Europe and the United States. …
Q: Concerning this NMD, has there been a positive reaction of the European Allies to this idea? Are they interested in being involved in this initiative?
Secretary Cohen: There were several members who spoke positively about the nature of the threat that is growing and about the need to have some limited capability, but it is by no means a consensus within the Alliance. I think that the more information that is shared, and it was very helpful today to have that information presented to the members, that they will evaluate their own needs. It would be my own recommendation that the European members of NATO look very closely at it so that they can make a judgment and evaluation as to whether the threat that is emerging places their own population at risk, which cannot be satisfied in terms of just having a deterrent capacity, but rather having some limited capability within the NATO Alliance itself. It is something that they will look at and we will discuss in the coming year or so, as this concept is being refined. I think it was helpful today. I think they appreciated having an explanation from me, in terms of the threat, and the type of response that we would propose.
Again, this is something that is of a very limited nature. It is designed to deal with rogue states. It is not directed against the Russians, or others, and it would not undercut the Russian strategic deterrent. This is something that we must make very clear. The Russians have many thousands of nuclear weapons, which they are trying to reduce in START II and, hopefully, going into START III. This would in no way undercut that strategic deterrent and capability they have. That is really the essence of what I tried to lay out for the members today."
Source: The full text of this interview is available from http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#BRIEFINGS
US Briefing On National Missile Defences & The ABM Treaty
NATO Defence Ministerials, December 2-3, 1999, NATO Headquarters Brussels, Belgium.
Attributable to Senior American Defence Official, December 2, 1999.
"As you know, the meetings this morning had three parts, first, the Nuclear Planning Group, second, the Defense Planning Group, the Defense Planning Committee and then finally, the first session of the North Atlantic Council and Defense Ministerial Session.
The main topic, which was discussed in the NPG, the Nuclear Planning Group, was a quite detailed presentation by the United States on the growing ballistic missile threat from rogue states.
Before that briefing was presented, however, Secretary Cohen made a point which I think is appropriate to repeat here - which, there was a press report about a month ago that at this meeting he would announce the withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe. Secretary Cohen made clear that press story is entirely without foundation and is entirely false. The strategic concept commits the alliance to continuing to maintain nuclear, as well as, of course, conventional forces and the United States will continue to maintain it's contribution in that connection. We then presented a briefing on the emerging ballistic missile threat which was based on the material in the National Intelligence Estimate which was released sometime ago in the United States, which represents our best assessment, based on all available evidence of the state of this threat. The briefing, of course, was classified in a somewhat I don't know what the right adjective is, the NATO classification which always seem to me to be particularly secret. However, the essence of the material, but not all the evidence which was presented to Ministers is available in the unclassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate. Copies of that of course are available for those who want it. But the essence of the conclusion of the analysis that North Korea is embarked on a rapidly moving program to develop long range ballistic missiles, the test last year of the Taepo Dong I is a sign of the degree which they have made substantial progress. They're working on a so-called, Taepo Dong II, Taepo Dong is place in North Korea. Taepo II missile which will have range to reach large parts of the United States, and indeed, Europe, and there is some indication they are working on a longer range system that which would be able to reach large parts the United States and in all of Europe with a nuclear pay load. In addition, North Korea has a very high propensity to export, so that in addition whatever threat that North Korea presents directly to the United States, its allies and the Far East, in principle, at least, to Europe, I think we have to be prepared for the possibility that North Korea would sell the missile technology, missile components, and conceivably the missiles themselves, to other countries, so those threats, those countries would then have the capabilities that North Korea would have.
I should say that North Korea has agreed, and is now complying with that agreement to suspend actual flight tests of its long range missiles. It is, however, and this was presented in the briefing this morning, continuing other aspects of the program, the program is by no means halted.
Iran has an indigenous program; in additional to whatever potential that would be for acquiring finished product from North Korea, Iran has an indigenous program with substantial foreign assistance, which is not as far along as the North Korean program, but is proceeding, and within, say the next decade, would be able to have long range missiles capable in different variations, of reaching all of NATO territory, including, obviously, Europe as well as the United States and Canada. The message of the briefing was that the threat is real, the evidence is there, these are real programs with real potential to threaten both the forces of NATO in operations, in addition to substantial theater missile programs, but also the populations of the NATO countries. The way the discussion has been broken up, the discussion this morning focused almost entirely on the state of the threat.
In the Ministers' lunch later today they will also talk about the U.S. consideration of the possibility of deploying a National Missile Defense to protect the United States against these threats. About the negotiations which we are engaged in with the Russians to update the ABM treaty and, in course of that, the central point is that the defense, which the United States is considering, and I should make the point, the President has not made at this point a decision on deployment, but the defense which we are considering is not only not designed to counter the Russian deterrent, it represents no threat to that deterrent simply by reason of scale. The rogue state threats that we are talking about are on the order of, even when reasonably well developed, perhaps a few tens of warheads, Russia has now thousands, and even if you assume quite substantial reductions, either as a result of future arms control or simple economic pressures, it would still have a force which could, for better or for worse, could without any difficulty at all, overwhelm the defense that we are talking about. The United States is strongly committed, first of all, to consulting with our friends and allies on these issues. We know that there are concerns and questions and these meetings today are an important part of that process of consultation. And, we are also committed to working very hard with the Russians to do what the ABM treaty provides for, which is to update its provision in light of the changing strategic situation. …
With that background, I will be happy to take your questions.
Q: Among the concerns of the allies, perhaps the top concern from the allies, that Russia's warning that if the ABM treaty is not changed, and is refusing to change it thus far, that it could, would, withdraw support of the START and other arms treaties. And the whole arms control regime could come down like a house of cards. I noticed in the communiqué, it says, all allies support the central treaties related to disarmament and non-proliferation, was there a push to put that in there? Do the Allies want to make it very clear?
A: Nobody has to push, if the implication is to push the United States to agree to that language, no. That states our view as well. We believe that there is nothing incompatible between our concern with the growing rogue state ballistic missile threat and continued strategic stability and the arms control process. Indeed, one of the elements that we are talking to the Russians about is how future offensive arms control should proceed. Now, we have a problem in that the Russians have not ratified the START II agreement, which makes it difficult to proceed to further agreements. But we have had, as you know, some discussions - not negotiations - but some discussions about the shape of the future of strategic offensive arms control. And I acknowledge that there is an issue of how that would relate to an updated ABM treaty, but there is no reason why you cannot have a system in which the kind of limited defenses the United States is thinking about can coexist with a state of full strategic stability and, indeed, substantial further reductions on strategic offensive arms.
Q: Well, to follow up briefly, if the Russians make clear, if they don't change the ABM treaty and the United States decides that it's in its national interests to back out of the treaty in order to establish this defense, will the United States go ahead and do it even - even if it risks the arms control process?
A: Our position now is that we believe that there is no reason why we should have to face that choice or why the Russians should have to face the consequences of that choice. And that it will be our effort in the coming months to reach an agreement in the areas we've discussed. The treaty provides what it provides; there's no question about that. But that our position and our goal and, indeed, our expectation is that we will be able to reach a resolution of this issue by negotiation. …
Q: Your Secretary of Defense made a point in Hamburg yesterday...he went out of his way to emphasize the importance of National Missile Defense. Is this something that is actually being recommended to the Europeans as a model to follow? Something to do themselves?
A: No. What he said yesterday...I don't think he went out of his way. I suppose Hamburg is in some sense out of the way, but other than that I don't think he went out of the way. Big, delightful city - not out of the way at all! I think what he said was nothing any different than what has been said now repeatedly by American spokesmen in a number of contexts. The specific European reference - it is the fact, as the briefings demonstrated this morning, that this is potentially a problem for Europe as well as for the United States and our Asian allies and our allies in the Middle East and so on. What he said yesterday was if the Europeans decide to, that is the question of the European program as something they would have to decide whether they were interested in, either individually or collectively, and obviously will discuss...we discuss in the Alliance subjects people are interested in, and we would prepared to discuss it. We are not by any means pushing the idea; it's a decision for the Europeans. …
Q: I believe you said that the system we're contemplating would handle a few tens of incoming warheads. Did you give the Europeans today some indication of how many missiles would be involved in a system such as we're contemplating?
A: We haven't said, because...but it's a matter of public record, but the first phase of the first phase deployment would involve - assuming it were approved - would involve a hundred interceptors based in Alaska and, obviously, if the system is perfect, which of course it will be, it will only...a hundred interceptors will only intercept 100 warheads at best. …
Q: [inaudible] and a second question about this missile threat - when do you expect North Korea exactly to be able to attack, and did Secretary Cohen mention any other states, or just North Korea and Iran?
A: To answer the second question first. What the NIE says is that the North Koreans would be able to test the so-called Taepo-Dong II missile at any time. They have made an agreement not to do so pending discussions, but they haven't agreed not to do it ever. So they could do a test at any time.
One of the points that was made in the National Intelligence Estimate and was, of course, repeated in the briefing is that with the rogue states we're not talking about a missile system, a missile capability like the United States and the Soviet Union, and indeed, Britain, France and China developed during the Cold War - that is, an extensively tested, carefully prepared system. The North Koreans began selling the so-called No-Dong missile after one test and have deployed it, after, as far as we know, only one test they just did. There have been other tests of variants.
So that we have to assume that within a very few years, and I think the intelligence estimate is likely by the middle of the decade, North Korea will have the capability to send a payload to at least parts of the United States. Exactly how much of the United States would be covered by that threat depends upon some technical details of how they structure the program.
And now with respect to the three new members of the Alliance: They do have defense spending which is somewhat below the NATO average. One of the discussions at the time Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic became members of the Alliance was the need to fundamentally reform their militaries, which is the most important part of it, but in that connection, to establish a program over a period of time gradually to increase the level of spending to get it nearer or to the sort of range of the NATO average at the time they joined. My understanding is that those programs are going forward. … Thank you."
Source: Full text of this briefing is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#BRIEFINGS
© 2000 The Acronym Institute.