Defense

April 18, 2012

NATO conference focuses on post-2014 Afghanistan

Tags:
by Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
DOD photograph by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta participates in the NATO "jumbo" ministerial conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, April 18, 2012.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen April 18 emphasized support to Afghanistan beyond 2014 in remarks opening a conference of the alliance’s defense and foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

Rasmussen noted the NATO summit in Chicago is a month away. “We have important work to do today and tomorrow to help set the stage,” he said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has been engaged in Afghanistan since 2001, and Rasmussen said the alliance will continue to support that nation beyond 2014.

Meetings of NATO defense and foreign ministers today and tomorrow will shape the decisions on Afghanistan that the alliance’s heads of state and government will make in Chicago, Rasmussen said, including completing the transition to Afghan security lead by the end of 2014 and what form NATO’s contributions in Afghanistan will take after that transfer.

Rasmussen noted Afghan security forces defeated coordinated enemy attacks April 15 in and around Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul.

“This shows that the Afghan security forces can deal with dangers and difficulties, and they are getting stronger every day,” the secretary general said.

He said his clear message to Afghanistan’s enemies is that they can’t just wait NATO out. “As we gradually draw down,” he added, “a still stronger Afghan security force is taking charge to protect the Afghan people against brutality and inhumanity.”

NATO will maintain a training mission and financial support to Afghan security forces beyond 2014, Rasmussen said. “We must make sure we maintain the gains made with so much investment in lives and resources,” he added.

Even in tough financial times, the secretary general said, supporting the Afghan forces is “a good deal in financial and political terms.”

NATO remains committed to its strategy and its long-term partnership with Afghanistan, Rasmussen said.

“This is our message to the people of Afghanistan, to the enemies of Afghanistan, and to the neighbors of Afghanistan,” he said, “because it is in the interest of our own security.”

Before a morning meeting of defense ministers this morning, Rasmussen said their discussion would center on alliance “smart defense” efforts to acquire capabilities jointly that the alliance will need to counter future threats. Smart defense, he said, “means setting the right priorities. We must specialize in what we do best and focus resources on what we need most. And we must work together to deliver capabilities that many nations cannot afford on [their] own.”

At the Chicago summit next month, Rasmussen said, NATO will demonstrate its commitment “to continue to invest political, military and economic capital in a transatlantic alliance that is fully fit to deal with the security challenges of today and tomorrow.”

In a news conference following the morning session, he announced ministers have prepared an interim missile defense plan for Europe, with details to be announced in Chicago.

NATO defense ministers also discussed a “connected forces” initiative to be finalized at the Chicago summit, he added. This agreement will strengthen member nations’ coordinated education, training and technology efforts, the secretary general said.

Financial support to Afghan forces after 2014 is expected to cost $4 billion per year, Rasmussen added, though details of NATO nations’ contributions to that total have not been finalized.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are both here for the NATO meetings.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Staci Miller

1,000th F-35 training sortie flown at Luke AFB

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Staci Miller A pilot from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., flew the 1,000th F-35A Lightning II training sortie March 31, 2015. The 56th Fighter Wing is the fastest F-35 wing to reach the 1,000-sortie mi...
 
 

DARPA uses open systems to boost airpower

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is unveiling a new program to boost U.S. air superiority by separating payloads such as weapons and sensors from the main air platform, and using open-system architectures to seamlessly integrate plug-and-fly modules into any kind of platform. The program, called System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation aims to...
 
 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht

Laser-based aircraft countermeasure provides ‘unlimited rounds’ against MANPADS

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter prepares to depart Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, on Jan 7, 2012. The Apache conducts distributed operations, precision strikes against relocat...
 

 

Navy, Air Force advocate for modernizing combat aviation

Top Navy and Air Force officials today told the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 will support modernizing combat aviation programs. Cavy Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisitions; Air...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo

McConnell community marks B-29 rollout

Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo A B-29 Superfortress aircraft, named Doc after its nose art, sit on the flightline March 23, 2015, in Wichita, Kan. Doc will be one of two Superfortresses in the world capable of fl...
 
 

Future USS John Finn launched

The future USS John Finn (DDG 113) was launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard March 28. During launch the drydock was flooded allowing the 637-foot floating dock to slowly submerge until the ship was afloat. Once the drydock was fully submerged, the ship was pulled by tugs to HII’s south berth...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>