Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE2855, NETHERLANDS: DASD THOMAS VISIT TO THE HAGUE FOR
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|05THEHAGUE2855||2005-10-21 06:06||2011-01-17 00:12||SECRET||Embassy The Hague|
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 002855 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2015 TAGS: MARR PREL NL SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: DASD THOMAS VISIT TO THE HAGUE FOR QDR CONSULTATIONS Classified By: Charge D'Affaires Chat Blakeman, reasons 1.4 (b,d) ¶1. (C) Summary. DASD for Resources and Plans James P. Thomas visited The Hague for consultations with Dutch MOD and MFA officials October 10 on the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Thomas provided an overview of the ongoing QDR and sought Dutch views and comments. He emphasized the importance of adopting multinational approaches to address security challenges such as terrorism. He highlighted a common goal shared by the Netherlands and the United States: maintaining and growing civil society to address growing trans-national problems. Finally, he outlined emerging QDR capability priorities required to achieve the QDR's focus areas. ¶2. (C) Cont. Summary: Dutch interlocutors expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to consult during the ongoing QDR deliberations, and reacted favorably to the QDR's themes and emerging priorities. They inquired how QDR might affect the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. They also drew parallels to their own attempts to enhance security sector reform in Africa, and suggested enhancing ties between NATO, the UN, the EU and the African Union. End Summary. ¶3. (U) During his consultations in The Hague, DASD Thomas met with Admiral Nagtegaal (Defense Planning Process), BrigGen Veltman (International Military Cooperation), and Sebastian Reyn (Deputy Director, General Policy Directorate, MOD). In attendance on the USG side were Charge, DATT CAPT Frank Buerger, ODC Chief COL David Kelly, CAPT Mac Bollman, and Polmiloff Jason Grubb. At the MFA, DASD Thomas met with Robert de Groot (Director, Security and Defense Policy Department), Rob Gabrielse (Deputy Director, Conflict Prevention and Crisis Response Operations), Hans Sandee (Deputy Director, Security and Defense Policy), Karen van Stegeren (Advisor, International Security Policy), and Eric Strating (Security and Defense Policy). DATT, CAPT Bollman and Polmiloff attended for the USG. MOD Meeting -- Importance of Building Partner Capacity --------------------------------------------- --------- ¶4. (S) After thanking MoD officials for Dutch contributions to ISAF, NTM-I and Hurricane Katrina relief, and noting the importance of the Netherlands as a long-standing U.S. Ally, DASD Thomas opened consultations with MOD officials by outlining major QDR cross-cutting themes. He explained that the Pentagon, in concert with other elements of national power, was emphasizing multinational preventive approaches to international security, including the maintenance and expansion of global civil society and peacetime engagement activities to prevent problems from becoming crises, and crises from becoming conflicts. Shoring up effective and legitimate governments and enabling partners is key -- as part of the QDR, the Department of Defense is exploring mechanisms to deepen partnerships not only with traditional, stable allies, but also with vulnerable states in the developing world. Thomas also noted the importance of the ""indirect approach"" for addressing the challenges posed by terrorist extremism -- working by, with, and through others to defeat the threat. He noted that while the QDR emphasizes the need to develop new capabilities and skill sets associated with irregular warfare, such as language capabilities and cultural intelligence, DoD would maintain its conventional capabilities. Finally, he explained that achieving unity of effort with other Federal, state and local agencies for homeland defense and homeland security was also an important theme in the QDR. ¶5. (S) Admiral Nagtegaal said that the themes raised by Thomas suggested significant changes in security policy that extend beyond defense. Thomas agreed that the security challenges facing the Netherlands and U.S. demand holistic approaches that harness all instruments of national and allied power. Just as the Department of Defense has a unified command plan that assigns ""supported"" and ""supporting"" roles and responsibilities for warfighters, he suggested the need to explore the development of similar arrangements across governments. He stressed the need for dialogue, and pointed to the NATO Defense Planning Committee generation of force goals as a good example of multinational force planning. He suggested building upon that process to address a wider range of security challenges. The nature of the challenges we face are such, he said, that unilateral approaches cannot work. We must integrate multinational considerations more deeply into our national force planning. QDR Capability Priorities ------------------------- ¶6. (S) DATT repeated a frequent question from MOD contacts regarding how the USG could afford the reforms required by the QDR, especially following the financial aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thomas noted that DoD faces a number of challenges, including ongoing operations, the growth of personnel health care costs, recapitalization of aging equipment, and the need to contribute to broader Federal deficit reduction efforts. That said, however, the QDR was not simply a ""budget drill"". He expected that there would be a number of proposals for new or increased investment in key areas, such as counterterrorism and homeland defense, and that any spending cuts would be made in light of the longer term strategic vision. Thomas outlined several emerging QDR capability priorities, including homeland defense and, in concert with broader interagency efforts, developing medical countermeasures against advanced, genetically-engineered bio-terror agents. He noted that emerging non-lethal technologies might be used to hold and secure a multitude of WMD-producing sites for eventual disarmament. Thomas also outlined plans to increase the numbers/capabilities of DoD Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel to render safe nuclear devices, as well as irregular warfare training for general purpose forces and increases in some special operations forces. ¶7. (S) Thomas explained the importance of improving language and culture capabilities, in particular by attracting American heritage speakers to join the military. Thomas stressed the need to recruit individuals who are not only bilingual but also bicultural to improve the U.S. military's local knowledge and cultural awareness in less familiar areas of the world. Gen. Veltman related problems the Dutch faced in attracting individuals from different ethnic backgrounds to join the military -- often, these individuals or their families feel threatened if they cooperate with Dutch forces. Charge Blakeman suggested that linguistic skill was perhaps a contribution that the Netherlands and other NATO countries could make in future coalition operations; Gen. Veltman concurred. Thomas noted that such contributions would be welcomed. ¶8. (S) Thomas noted that enhancing deterrence was also an important topic within the QDR and in this regard stressed the importance of missile defenses to deter adversaries through the prospect of denying their objectives. He also noted that achieving Persistent Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities was another area of emphasis in the QDR. In this regard, he explained that avoiding a ""Pearl Harbor"" scenario in which space assets could be attacked was a concern. Thomas also related recent cyber operations originating from China appear to have targeted USG unclassified computer networks, resulting in large volumes of compromised information pertaining to logistics and defense acquisition programs. As such, net centricity and information assurance capabilities are vital. Affect on JSF? -------------- ¶9. (S) Adm. Nagtegaal asked how the QDR might affect plans for the JSF program. Thomas explained that no decisions have been taken on JSF but that deliberations are ongoing. Multinational participation in the program is a consideration. He said that QDR deliberations were informed by a long-term strategic framework and the transition over time to unmanned aircraft. In this regard, he noted that JSF would likely be the last major manned tactical aircraft program. A key question would be how JSF and other aircraft programs would fit into such a transition. DoD is looking at a number of options, including reducing the number of JSF variants. Thomas noted that international participation informed deliberations about the program. He noted that on their current timelines some of the studies and analyses that would inform decisions on JSF would not be completed until after the QDR report was submitted. Thus, some decisions might not be made until sometime in 2006. Adm. Nagtegaal said that he would advise his leadership that reducing the number of JSF variants was under consideration although no decisions have been taken. ¶10. (S) Reyn related past concerns by the Dutch Parliament regarding QDR consultations, and asked that the USG coordinate any QDR-related consultation statements with the Dutch prior to releasing them to the public. In this regard, he also expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to hold bilateral consultations on the QDR in advance of the review's completion. Thomas agreed to coordinate any statements about these or future consultations, and asked that the Dutch do the same with the USG. MFA Meeting: QDR Focus Areas ---------------------------- ¶11. (U) Sandee referred to an article in the Dutch press in March 2005 regarding Washington interest in consulting with Allies on this iteration of the QDR; as such, there is much interest in the Netherlands. Thomas confirmed that was the purpose of his trip, and looked forward to any comments or constructive criticism so that Dutch concerns might be better taken into account in QDR development. He explained the QDR timeline, noting the report's anticipated release in February ¶2006. ¶12. (S) Thomas commented on four QDR focus areas. The first involved building partnerships to defeat terrorist extremism. The challenge underscored the importance of integrating multinational considerations into force planning. A second focus area is defending the homeland in-depth -- both internally by working with other Federal agencies, state and local governments, as well as by working with international partners globally as many potential problems cross borders (Avian Flu, international terrorism). Shaping choices of countries at strategic crossroads is a third focus area. He described the fourth focus area as preventing hostile states or non-state actors from acquiring or using WMD. Our approach should have a preventive dimension along the lines of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Think Globally, Act Locally --------------------------- ¶13. (S) Thomas reviewed several QDR cross-cutting themes, including the balance between prevention and response. He emphasized the need to prevent states from failing -- instead of attempting to rebuild them after failure -- by maintaining and growing civil society. Thomas noted the importance of enabling both traditionally strong and crisis-bound partners, especially at the local level. He referred to the indirect strategy, noting that the United States seeks to transform the character of the conflict with terrorist extremists by empowering moderates within the Islamic world to confront and ostracize extremists. He stressed the need to build local institutions and training trainers, harnessing local knowledge, and adopting tailored, differentiated approaches that are culturally or regionally appropriate, i.e., ""thinking globally but acting locally"". ¶14. (S) De Groot described the shift in thinking as ""quite incredible,"" and suggested that the change will be difficult as different mind-sets are required to effectively carry out this ""soft power"" transition. He suggested that ""lessons learned"" be included in the QDR process, especially regarding the military's role in post-conflict and the transition from military operations to the international community reconstruction effort. Gabrielse pointed to the Dutch MOD/development assistance ""integrated approach"" to security sector reform (SSR) in Africa. Thomas agreed on the importance of integrated approaches to security sector reform, stabilization and transition missions. He noted that U.S. and allied militaries can help set the security conditions for nation building, but ultimately the success would depend on local leaders taking the responsibility to build or rebuild their own nations; he recalled the President's statement from his 2nd inaugural address that ""we stand with others when they stand for freedom."" NATO, UN, EU, and African Union ------------------------------- ¶15. (S) De Groot asked if NATO was capable of carrying out such an integrated approach to security sector reform, especially in connection to Africa. Thomas said that NATO probably has the capacity, as demonstrated by ISAF in Afghanistan and NTM-I. But NTM-I is a relatively modest effort -- NATO can do more with training missions, he said. Gabrielse agreed, pointing to NATO's role in transforming the post-Soviet Bloc. Thomas noted the effectiveness of the Partnership for Peace program, but cautioned against applying the Eastern European model for security sector reform and particularly institutional reform at the expense of constructive field training. ¶16. (S) De Groot noted that training for SSR was different, involving advisors and small teams, not military units. Noting the difference in mind-sets, he asked if the USG envisioned two separate battalions for fighting and post-conflict phases. Thomas said there should be no differentiation or specialization of general purpose forces -- ideally, military units in this capacity should be able to shift from conflict to stabilization and back to conflict phases, if necessary. They should also be trained to develop new skill sets and counter-insurgency techniques. ¶17. (S) De Groot noted that better relations between NATO, the UN, and the African Union (AU) should be developed. Thomas agreed, adding that DoD welcomed the development of such regional security institutions. Gabrielse asked if the QDR had examined NATO-EU relations in connection to SSR. Thomas explained that the QDR had not focused much on the EU, while observing that the EU might be better suited to address some non-traditional security issues. De Groot and Sandee highlighted expertise being developed in the EU with regard to civil-military coordination and suggested that the QDR factor the EU into the equation. ¶18. (U) DASD Thomas has cleared on this cable. BLAKEMAN