The United States strongly supports NATO’s cooperation with partners as a means to share more effectively burdens and act worldwide to accomplish our common security goals. This aligns with wider U.S. strategy of driving global cooperation on security challenges through networks of alliances.
NATO’s Wales Summit marks the 20th anniversary of its longest-standing partnership networks. The Partnership for Peace (PfP), established in 1994, includes 22 partners; the Mediterranean Dialogue (Med-D), also established in 1994, includes Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia; and the Istanbul Cooperative Initiative (ICI), established in 2004, includes Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and UAE. Another initiative, NATO’s Partners Across the Globe (PAG), includes cooperation with Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Mongolia.
An Evolving Focus in Our Longstanding Partnerships. At their inception, NATO’s partnership programs sought to reform defense sectors in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. In recent years, while many NATO partnerships have come to focus on interoperability and contributions to NATO operations by capable partners, political engagement and mentorship in security sector reform continue to feature prominently in partner engagement. NATO works to tailor its approach to the expressed goals of its partner nations.
NATO remains committed to further strengthening and deepening its partnerships, as was agreed during the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago and re-affirmed here in Wales with the establishment of the Interoperability Initiative. This program includes an “Interoperability Platform” of some 24 partners that will help NATO and its partners maintain joint readiness to tackle security challenges. Additionally, it includes an upper tier of “Enhanced Partners,” which provides early access to operational planning, streamlined participation in exercises, and regular political consultations for NATO’s closest and most interoperable partners.
U.S. Assistance to Partners. U.S. support to NATO Partners typically falls into three categories: (1) direct security assistance, (2) training and exercises, or (3) long term institutional reform. We have actively engaged in each of these areas for Ukraine, and measures are underway to intensify support for Moldova and Georgia.
Since March 2014, the United States has responded to direct Ukrainian requests for non-lethal security assistance to address the instability in Ukraine. As of mid-August, we have announced $60 million in support for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (MOD), State Border Guard Service, and the National Guard. Deliveries so far have included meals ready-to-eat, body armor, radios, vehicles, thermal vision devices, medical supplies, explosive ordinance disposal robots, uniforms, and individual tactical gear. Shipments are planned through late 2014 and will include night vision devices, additional communications equipment, and more helmets. We will continue to assess Ukraine’s needs to apply future funding towards the highest priority requirements.
Additionally, two significant events with the Ukrainian military are planned for September 2014: SEA BREEZE and RAPID TRIDENT. The first is an annual multilateral naval exercise, which will occur in international waters. The second exercise is focused on ground forces and involves 15 countries at a training center in Western Ukraine.
We also have launched initiatives to assist Ukraine in reforming its defense institutions. This support consists of multi-level engagements to provide advice to the MOD leadership in areas such as defense institution building, cyber defense, logistics, and standardization. Additionally, we are working to help Ukraine develop a new defense strategy and further develop its National Guard.
We are also developing plans to support other states on Russia’s periphery, particularly Moldova and Georgia. In addition to high-level engagements, we plan to intensify security assistance over the longer term. If funded, the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative will include provisions for increased assistance to build capacity in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia to provide for their own defense and increase interoperability with Western forces. In addition, here in Wales the Alliance announced a number of new initiatives in our engagement with Georgia. Finally, we are working closely with NATO to develop more robust assistance and engagement programs for these three nations.