News / Europe

US Calls for NATO Cooperation in Time of Austerity

United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 5, 2011.
United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 5, 2011.
Luis Ramirez

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned NATO countries the U.S. may not be able to sustain operations like those in Libya and Afghanistan as it tries to deal with its own budget problems.

Panetta arrived in Brussels to attend his first NATO ministerial conference as Secretary of Defense.  He brought a careful but clear message:  that the United States can may no longer be able to make up for gaps that its NATO allies have had in carrying out missions like those in Libya and Afghanistan.

Panetta said the two operations exposed gaps that the United States had to fill, especially in the area of  intelligence and reconnaissance and midair refueling.  He said the gaps have been exposed at a time when NATO nations are facing, cuts in their defense budgets, and the U.S. - facing more than 450 billion dollars in cuts - may no longer be in a position to offset the shortfalls.

"There are legitimate questions about whether, if present trends continue, NATO will again be able to sustain the kind of operations we have seen in Libya and Afghanistan without the United States taking on even more of a burden. It would be a tragic outcome if the alliance shed the very capabilities that allowed it to successfully conduct these operations," he said.

The alliance depends entirely on the United States for drones and other expensive capabilities.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it is vital for allies to improve their capabilities to face future challenges and do so on a tighter budget.  

He said that in this age of austerity, the allies will have to find ways to get more out of their defense budgets, by joining their resources and sharing the cost of projects.

In a separate development, the United States and Spain announced they have an agreement to base warships equipped with missile interceptors at a Spanish naval base on the country's southwest Atlantic coast. The move is part of anti-missile system that NATO is setting up to protect Europe against a potential nuclear threat from Iran.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero joined Secretary Panetta and the NATO chief in announcing the agreement at NATO headquarters late Wednesday.

The Spanish leader said Spain will receive this component of the system due to the country's geostrategic location as a gateway to the Mediterranean.

The Spanish government says four U.S. ships will be home-based at Spain's Rota naval base by 2013 and generate about 1,000 jobs.

Secretary Panetta said the announcement should send a very strong signal that the United States is still continuing to invest in the NATO alliance.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid