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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid