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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE2855 2005-10-21 06:06 2011-01-17 00:12 SECRET Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2015

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

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

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
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.