|Warsaw Meetings May Presage Rumsfeld's Agenda at Prague NATO Summit|
Warsaw Meetings May Presage Rumsfeld's Agenda at Prague NATO Summit
By Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) September 20, 2002 -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leaves Sunday for NATO ministerial meetings in Warsaw, Poland, and is expected to propose creating a NATO Response Force, a DoD official said here today.
The new force, the official said, would provide NATO the capability to deploy perhaps a brigade-sized unit on short notice to perform either low- or high-intensity military missions. He said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America and new defense realities of the 21st century sparked the idea of having such a force.
The response force is an upshot of a NATO capabilities initiative that came out of NATO meetings in June, the official said.
The initiative's first component would include the ability to rapidly deploy and sustain NATO forces outside the organization's traditional European area of operations, he explained. The second part is an ongoing NATO command- structure review to streamline resources and to provide agility and sustainability.
The official noted the new capabilities would involve allies joining together and committing specific forces for duty at specific times and dates. He said NATO could use the new capabilities and command structure review initiative to produce the new response force, with land, air and sea assets that could be deployed outside of Europe.
The official noted Rumsfeld's other main topics on his Prague agenda. Discussions over new NATO membership and new relationships, such as with Russia and Ukraine, are high on the list. While in Warsaw, he pointed out, Rumsfeld would also meet with senior Polish government and military leaders.
The Warsaw meeting is the last major ministerial-level event before NATO's November summit in Prague, Czech Republic, the official told Pentagon reporters.
Rumsfeld is slated to return to Washington on Sept. 25.