Gates, Serdyukov Renew U.S.-Russia Military Ties

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Russ­ian Defense Min­is­ter Ana­toliy Serdyukov opened the door to mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tions between their coun­tries that have been most­ly closed for the past two years, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials said today.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, left, and Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdykov, right
Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates, left, and Russ­ian Defense Min­is­ter Ana­toly Serdykov, right, sign a mem­o­ran­dum of under­stand­ing at the Pen­ta­gon, Sept. 15, 2010. The doc­u­ment pro­vides a frame­work for a vari­ety of coop­er­a­tive, mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary pro­grams to be under­tak­en dur­ing the com­ing year.
DoD pho­to by R. D. Ward
Click to enlarge

Gates host­ed five hours of meet­ings with Serdyukov today, fol­lowed by a pri­vate river­boat din­ner mark­ing Serdyukov’s first vis­it to the Unit­ed States and the first time a Russ­ian defense min­is­ter has vis­it­ed the Pen­ta­gon since 2005, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said. 

Gates last vis­it­ed Rus­sia in March 2008, but U.S.-Russian rela­tions cooled lat­er that year after Rus­sia invad­ed neigh­bor­ing Geor­gia. Today’s meet­ings went a long way to re-estab­lish mil­i­tary ties, accord­ing to a senior Pen­ta­gon offi­cial who took part in today’s meet­ings and spoke on background. 

Today’s biggest advance was “the renew­al of dia­logue,” the offi­cial said. 

“It sounds pro­ce­dur­al, but this is some­thing that has been miss­ing in the last few years,” he said. “These are impor­tant con­fi­dence-build­ing steps to over­com­ing a lega­cy of sus­pi­cion and mis­trust that has not been elim­i­nat­ed between our defense establishments& ldquo; 

Gates hopes today’s vis­it will estab­lish “a rhythm of con­sul­ta­tions,” the offi­cial said. 

The lead­ers signed a memo out­lin­ing the U.S.-Russia mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship that places defense coop­er­a­tion as a cor­ner­stone of broad­er rela­tions, and notes shared threats and sim­i­lar challenges. 

They also signed an agree­ment cre­at­ing a defense rela­tions work­ing group that is to resolve issues in armed forces reform and trans­for­ma­tion, defense pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties and nation­al secu­ri­ty, trans­paren­cy and con­fi­dence-build­ing, and region­al and glob­al security. 

Gates said at the sign­ing that he and Serdyukov will meet at least once a year and that the two nations will have more fre­quent exchanges among mil­i­tary officials. 

“It’s been a plea­sure to meet with Mr. Serdyukov, in part because he and I face sim­i­lar defense chal­lenges,” Gates said after the sign­ing. “We’re both work­ing hard to pro­vide sweep­ing, some­times painful, but very nec­es­sary reforms in our military. 

“Today we begin what I believe will devel­op into more fre­quent com­mu­ni­ca­tion between each oth­er and our staffs, and I look for­ward to our con­tin­ued work togeth­er,” the sec­re­tary con­tin­ued. “I wish him all suc­cess, and I’m hope­ful we can learn from each other.” 

Serdyukov said the two “had very pro­found and detailed dis­cus­sions,” with each offer­ing var­i­ous proposals. 

“I hope we will con­tin­ue our efforts,” he said. “I hope my vis­it to the Unit­ed States will pro­vide a pow­er­ful impe­tus for rela­tions between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States. I con­clude that our dia­logue was very fruit­ful and constructive.” 

The two dis­cussed a range of issues includ­ing defense reforms, the Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty, region­al and glob­al secu­ri­ty, oper­a­tions in Afghanistan, as well as the north­ern sup­ply route through Rus­sia and oth­er coun­tries the Unit­ed States and NATO use as a main sup­ply route into the com­bat the­ater, offi­cials said. 

Among oth­er things, the lead­ers agreed to resume bilat­er­al mil­i­tary exer­cis­es and a troop exchange that will start with three Russ­ian sol­diers attend­ing a U.S. Army non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer school in Ger­many, they said. 

The meet­ings were impor­tant not only to build on rela­tions between the senior defense lead­ers, but also among their civil­ian staffs and mil­i­tary mem­bers, Mor­rell said. “That’s why you ded­i­cate the amount of time they did today, because it sends a sig­nal down the chain of their orga­ni­za­tions,” he said. 

Gates, a schol­ar of Russ­ian his­to­ry and the Cold War, invit­ed Serdyukov to the Pen­ta­gon last year because he felt a “kin­dred spir­it” with his coun­ter­part, who was strug­gling with sim­i­lar, albeit greater, chal­lenges to restruc­ture his country’s defense depart­ment under shrink­ing bud­gets, the Pen­ta­gon offi­cial said. 

Rus­sia has a one-to-one ratio of mil­i­tary offi­cers to enlist­ed mem­bers, and plans to cut some 200,000 offi­cer posi­tions, Mor­rell said. Serdyukov plans to tour Fort Belvoir, Va., tomor­row to learn more about the U.S. realign­ment and clo­sure process for excess mil­i­tary bases, and will tour Belvoir’s pri­vate­ly owned bil­lets, as well as the com­mis­sary and oth­er “qual­i­ty of life” areas, he said. Serdyukov also will tour the U.S. Naval Acad­e­my in Annapo­lis, Md. 

In a dis­cus­sion of Serdyukov’s actions so far, Mor­rell said, Gates told his coun­ter­part that the scale of his efforts is very impres­sive, as is the progress he has made. 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twitter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →