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NATO to Deploy AWACS Planes to US - 2001-10-10

NATO Secretary General George Robertson says the deployment of five of the alliance's surveillance aircraft from Europe to the United States will be completed by Friday. The deployment is part of NATO's efforts to help in the fight against terrorism, which Mr. Robertson outlined at the National Press Club before a meeting with President Bush at the White House.

For the first time, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has invoked Article 5 of its charter, saying last month's attack against the United States was an attack against all members of the alliance.

The deployment of five NATO AWACS surveillance planes to help patrol U.S. skies is NATO's first operational deployment in the United States.

The planes will allow the United States to deploy its own AWACS planes elsewhere in the fight against terrorism.

NATO Secretary General George Robertson says the move is both a gesture of solidarity and a military requirement to strengthen the U.S. led coalition. "We have not seen such a coalition since the struggles last century against slavery and the defeat of fascism, and NATO will be a vital component of this new coalition and a provider of capabilities," he said.

Mr. Robertson says NATO can also help in the fight against terrorism by improving intelligence sharing among its 19 member countries. "What we have to do frankly is to change the culture in order to make sure that sharing becomes the norm and not the exception," said George Robertson. "That means that countries have got to be less precious in some cases about intelligence that is collected nationally, so that we pick up all of the clues and we get the broadest possible picture." The NATO leader says the terrorists involved in last month's attacks should be seen as criminal murderers and not as martyrs. Concluding his remarks, Mr. Robertson predicted the terrorists will be defeated.