CHAIRED BY: SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH)
WITNESSES: SUSAN BURK, TO BE SPECIAL REP. OF THE PRESIDENT FOR NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION IVO DAALDER, TO BE UNITED STATES PERMANENT REP. OF THE COUNCIL OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO)
Copyright ©2009 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500, 1000 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC 20005 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service at www.fednews.com, please email Carina Nyberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-202-216-2706.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Good afternoon, everyone. I apologize for the delay. We had a vote. But I'm delighted to be here with Ranking Member Senator DeMint from -- and Senator Kaufman, I am, I am Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and I'm the chair of the Subcommittee on European Affairs, and because I'm still very new to this process, I will just explain how it's going to work this afternoon and delighted to have senator Lugar with us, who is the ranking member from the Foreign Relations Committee. So thank you for being here as well.
We're delighted to be here this afternoon to welcome nominees Ivo Daalder to be the U.S. representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and also Susan Burk to be the special representative of the President for nuclear non-proliferation. And I will ask them before they begin their testimony if they would like to introduce their family, who are here, so welcome to all of the family and friends of our nominees.
I will read brief statement. Then I will give Senator DeMint the opportunity to do that as well, and then we will ask our nominees for their testimony, and then we'll open it up to a question round. Each person will have seven minutes to ask questions and respond, and we can do a second round and continue as long as there are questions. So again, thank you all for being here.
And I want to point out in my opening statement that the posts that we're talking about today are pivotal to some of our most challenging national security threats. I'm very happy to announce my support for both of the nominees this afternoon, and I look forward to hearing your responses to our questions and your testimony.
As our ambassador to NATO, Dr. Ivo Daalder will represent the United States in perhaps the most successful regional security alliance in history. The recent 60th anniversary of NATO was in large part a celebration of NATO's past successes. However, it's also an opportunity for us to take stock of NATO's future. Over the last six decades, NATO's mission to defend its members has remained the same, yet the threats to the alliance have changed greatly. NATO must continue to adapt to meet these new challenges, and I am confident that Dr. Ivo Daalder will represent the United States well in this endeavor.
For the last decade, Dr. Daalder has served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution where he has specialized in trans-Atlantic relations and NATO affairs. He served in the Clinton Administration as a director at the National Security Council, and he has worked extensively on both sides of the Atlantic. Should he be confirmed, he will need to bring all of his knowledge and skills to bear, because the challenges NATO faces are immense.
Afghanistan remains perhaps the most pressing issue for NATO in the short-term. NATO efforts in Afghanistan remain vital to the security of its members, but they've also become a defining test for NATO as an institution. Relations with Russia will also be a major issue for NATO. There's little doubt that NATO and Russia, a NATO partner country, share a broad range of mutual interests. However, we should be careful to pursue these efforts with our eyes open to the fact that we continue to have significant differences. In the longer term, the U.S. will need to work closely with our European partners to find consensus on a shared strategic vision of NATO's future.
Dr. Daalder, the committee looks forward to hearing your ideas and your thoughts on America's critical relationship to NATO.
Our second nominee today, Susan Burk -- she has been nominated as the special representative for nuclear proliferation, and if confirmed, she will be responsible for helping to strengthen and shape our country's non-proliferation policies. In particular, Ms. Burk would serve as America's representative to the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Ms. Burk brings to the table a career's worth of expertise on non-proliferation, national security and arms control. She's currently the deputy coordinator for Homeland Security and the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism -- that's a mouthful -- and has served extensively throughout the U.S. government. Ms. Burk has been involved in important negotiations and has intimate knowledge and experience in issues related to the NPT.
For nearly four decades, the NPT has served as the cornerstone of global non-proliferation. The treaty's fundamental bargain of non- proliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy still stands today. But in light of ongoing challenges, its original goals need to be reinvigorated and strengthened in creative new ways. As the U.S. representative to the 2010 Review Conference, Ms. Burk would play the lead role in this effort. Her nomination is particularly urgent, as NPT parties will hold their final preparatory committee meeting in a matter of weeks in New York City.
The challenges before both of you are particularly daunting, and the work will be difficult, as we all know. The committee looks forward to working with you in the coming years on these critical efforts. I am proud to support these two well qualified and fully capable public servants. I congratulate you both on your nominations. I hope the committee and the full Senate will act quickly and positively on the se nominations.
Thank you, and I will now turn it over to Senator DeMint.
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): Thank you, madam chairman, Dr. Daalder, Ms. Burk. I thank the committee for holding these hearings. NATO is one of the world's most important alliances in defense of freedom and democracy, and U.S. policies regarding nuclear non-proliferation can improve peace and security around the work. However, as the chairwoman has just alluded to, the road before us on these issues is far from smooth, and success is not guaranteed.
Dr. Daalder, for 60 years NATO has been a successful alliance because its members have shared a set of values and principles which they have been willing to defend. However, the alliance is much different than it was in 1949 when the U.S. and British airlifts were sustaining the heart of Germany. Today, the threats facing Europe and the United States lay predominantly outside the continent.
We've seen the security that NATO can provide. In 2004, we welcomed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into the alliance.
These countries that once fell under the Soviet sphere of influence are no longer called privileged interest by Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev. Hopefully, more former Soviet republics will be part of the NATO alliance.
The expansion of NATO is a testament to its strength, and its newest members are a source of the most powerful voices, and they're staunch reminders of what it means to confront the threats and challenges that they have faced. These members rarely place caveats on their forces and are willing to make the case to their citizens about why NATO missions are important. Their perspectives are fresh and healthy.
However, there are some serious challenges. While no member should have to question whether NATO's Article 5 security assurances are real, recent events have given some members legitimate reasons to question its dependability. In addition, a number of NATO ambassadors have shared with me their concern that we're seeing the creation of a two-tiered alliance where a few countries shoulder both the economic burden and the military burden of NATO's missions.
As our Canadian friends point out, they've lost more soldiers in Afghanistan proportionately than we have lost in Iraq. Meanwhile, the alliance is challenged by organizations and policies that duplicate the structure of NATO while removing the voices of the United States and Canada. At times NATO can suffer from its own bureaucracy, but the E.U.'s distraction with its security and defense policy can undermine Europe's willingness to support the mission in Afghanistan.
Further, without a strategic focus, no organization can be successful for long. The lack of consensus on the strategic challenges that face Europe and NATO have been problematic. From terrorism to energy supply disruptions, from cyber attacks to piracy, there are numerous threats. I welcome the decision that -- NATO summit to update the strategic concept, but the rewrite must also be honest about all the threats that exist.
I'm especially concerned by the role Russia is playing inside the alliance. And while I believe dialogue with Russia is necessary, we must approach Russia with a healthy sense of realism. At no time in history has Russia enjoyed more peace on its western borders, and this is a direct result of the stability that NATO has created. So while the United States attempts to press the reset button, the question remains whether Russia will do the same. The road from Washington to Moscow is not a one-way street. The United States can and should reach out. But if there's no willing partner, if there's no basis for trust, then I fear progress will be in name only.
And this, Ms. Burk, will be your biggest challenge. Nuclear disarmament is a noble goal that the United States should pursue, but it's also vitally important we achieve real progress and not let ideological positions compromise international security. The American nuclear umbrella stands well beyond the borders of the United States and provides security to important allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
In addition, the security guaranteed by our arsenal has played an important role in convincing other nations to forego acquiring nuclear weapons. For these reasons, there's no such thing as unilateral disarmament for the United States. It's vitally important the United States maintain an effective and reliable deterrent. And if President Obama and you are serious about limiting the United States to a relatively small number of warheads, it is incumbent upon this Administration to ensure our remaining warheads are indeed reliable.
However, that is an assurance our military leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, cannot give. On the other hand, even the French understand that a credible nuclear deterrent requires modern and reliable weapons. Next year, they plan to deploy (newly- based ?) nuclear missiles amidst a reduction in the overall size of their arsenal. American leadership is important, but the idea that our example will entice Russia and North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, and other nations to reject nuclear weapons is particularly dangerous.
While President Obama announced his goal to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal, President Medvedev recently announced Russia would pursue large-scale rearmament of its military, including its nuclear arsenal. And unfortunately, a U.S. arsenal that is degraded both in quantity and quality could easily be an incentive for countries to increase their nuclear inventories and seek strategic parity with the United States.
In little more than 60 years under U.S. leadership -- for more than 60 years -- NATO has been and remains the preeminent guarantor of security in Europe, and under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, much of the world has remained safe and nuclear-free. This history is a testament to strong U.S. leadership based on shared values, solid principles, and tough standards. Strong U.S. leadership has encouraged most European countries to embrace the freedoms and principles of the West.
There are many important issues to discuss with the Russians, but the price of negotiating should not be the surrender of important U.S. and European security interests. If U.S. policy strongly supports our allies while simultaneously engaging the Russians, it would strengthen our hand in negotiations, not weaken it.
Going forward, you will each work on these issues. I look forward to your testimony and continuing this dialog as we wrestle with the challenges that face us. Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: Madame chair?
SEN. SHAHEEN: Yes, Senator Lugar.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN): I note that there may be a vote on now. I've asked someone to try to ascertain if (there is this ?) --
SEN. : I think that's a mistake.
SEN. LUGAR: Mistake?
SEN. : It's a mistake. I think so.
SEN. LUGAR: Fair enough.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Okay. Thank you.
SEN. : There was never a --
SEN. SHAHEEN: Now that we've determined that there is no vote pending, I would ask Dr. Daalder if you would begin with your opening statement. And feel free to introduce any family that you have here.
DR. DAALDER: Well, thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I am joined by my wife, Elissa (ph) Harris, and my two sons, Mark, who's 12, and Michael, who's ten. I must say they are the reason that I know there's more to life than work, including baseball and football, and I'm glad they can be here to see what work is like so they can look -- watch baseball later on.
Madam Chairwoman, Senator DeMint, members of the committee, it's a great pleasure to be here today. It's an honor to come before the committee as the President's nominee to serve as the U.S. permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And I'm very grateful to the confidence that the President Obama and Secretary Clinton have shown in nominating me. I have a longer prepared statement with -- which I'd like to submit for the record and I'll just briefly summarize here.
I'm especially pleased to be nominated to serve as the ambassador to NATO because I embody the trans-Atlantic relationship, having spent half my life in Europe and half in the United States. After growing up in the Netherlands and Italy and Britain, I arrived at these shores a quarter of a century ago to complete my studies. After I met my wife, I decided to remain and became determined to contribute a as a new citizen to this great country of ours. It is therefore a particular pleasure to be able to represent the United States if I am confirmed, and at -- in one of the great organizations that united the United States and North America together.
Putting aside the personal, Madam Chairwoman, I am here as someone who strongly believes in our President's desire for a new American era of engagement and American leadership in world affairs. We live in a world that is clearly becoming smaller and connected, a world where developments very far away can have immediate and large consequences here at home. In such a world no country, not even as great and powerful a nation as our own, can deal with the challenges we confront just by itself.
We need the cooperation of others, which is why President Obama has made renewing our alliances and partnerships, starting with our partnership in Europe, a top priority.
Europe, as both Senator Shaheen and Senator DeMint mentioned, has come a long way in the last 60 years from the dark days of fratricidal conflict that long beset the continent. The Atlantic alliance, which just this month celebrated the 60th anniversary, has been essential to the success that we have witnessed in Europe. Its core commitment, that an attack of one against one is an attack against all, ensures the security and freedom of all its members. It's enlargement over the last decade and a half provides the foundation for Europe's broader transformation into a continent that is united, peaceful and free. Both of these essential policies -- the commitment to Article 5 and its enlargement of its membership as enshrined in Article 10 will remain essential to our collective security in the years and decades ahead.
The key question facing the United States now must be how we and our allies can make NATO as effective as it was in the 20th century -- as effective in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century -- how to make this alliance an effective partnership to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
And Madam Chairwoman, we do face major challenges, as both you and Senator DeMint have pointed out. Let me focus on the three most urgent. First, and most importantly, we must succeed in Afghanistan. Earlier this month at the NATO summit, our allies embraced President Obama's new strategy for the region, thus underscoring that they too understand that we are in this together as an alliance of like-minded states. It will be my highest priority, should I be confirmed, to ensure the allies will contribute the troops, the trainers and the resources that are necessary for the strategy to succeed.
Our second challenge involves Russia. The Administration is determined to reset its relationship with Moscow. Our allies agree. And the alliance is united in its determination to renew its engagement with Russia. Events in Georgia in 2008 dramatized the differences between NATO and Russia, differences we see playing out even today.
But even when we disagree with Russia, we need to maintain an open and frank dialogue so that we can discuss our differences openly and frankly, and in order to figure out whether there's a way in which we might cooperate on issues of common concern, issues like nuclear proliferation, issues like Afghanistan, issues like counter-piracy and counter-terrorism.
And to that end, I look forward, should I be confirmed, to working with my NATO and Russian colleagues in revitalizing the NATO- Russia Council to try and forge a new era of cooperation.
The third major challenge is to ensure that the alliance is ready to confront the new challenges of today and tomorrow. NATO has been an unqualified success in creating a Europe that is united, peaceful and free. But even this region is now threatened by the world that is beyond it. Terrorists do not recognize geographical limits. Pandemics know no borders. Climate change does not stop at (frontiers ?). Hackers are not deterred by firewalls and local computer systems.
Some people speak of these issues as if they were looming on the horizon. I believe, however, they are already at our doorstep. If confirmed, I will make it my priority to help NATO confront these challenges stemming from a shrinking, yet still very dangerous world.
In conclusion, I would like to quote and remind people of what President Obama said when he was in Strausberg. He said the United States is ready to, quote, "listen, to learn, and to lead." That will be my approach at the North Atlantic Council should I be confirmed.
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman and members of the committee for granting me your time and attention today. I look forward to working with the committee and with the Congress if I am confirmed to address these and other issues. I now would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have for me today.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you very much, Dr. Daalder.
Ms. Burk, would you like to provide us with your opening statement?
MS. BURK: (Off mike). Let me introduce my -- (inaudible) -- family. I have my husband, Mike, my daughter, Kristen, my -- who is a school teacher in Fairfax County. My son Brian is a senior in college and finishing up so that he can graduate in two weeks. My sister Cindy Armand (ph) and her husband, the Honorable Jim Armand, are here with their son, Brady. And then I have two of my dearest friends from college, Anne-Marie Cortmaunch (ph) and Mary Farrel-Robinson (ph), who came to give me moral support. (Laughs.)
SEN. SHAHEEN: Good. Welcome all.
MS. BURK: I come from a very large family, so I don't know whether there are more here in the room, but I do have good representation.
I would also like to submit formal remarks for the record and offer brief remarks at this time if I may.
Madam Chairman and members of the committee, it is a true honor and a privilege to be here today before you as the President's nominee to serve as the special representative of the President for nuclear non-proliferation. I want to thank the President for his confidence in nominating me for this position, and I wish to thank Secretary Clinton for her support, and I look forward to working with her if I am confirmed. And I want to express again my gratitude to my husband and my children, who help me keep -- help keep me grounded and keep things in perspective for me.
The Obama Administration places great importance on strengthening the non-proliferation regime generally and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in particular, and I'd like to refer to that as the NPT just for short so I don't stumble. As Secretary Clinton said in her confirmation testimony, the NPT is the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime, and the United States must exercise leadership needed to shore up the regime. If confirmed, I look forward to having an opportunity to participate in this effort, which is more important now than ever given the challenges the regime is facing and the stresses it has been under.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference -- a critical milestone in the life of this treaty -- is rapidly approaching. Given the significance of this meeting, I expect, if confirmed, to spend most of the next 14 months leading U.S. efforts to ensure a success conference, including, if possible, our participation at this May's MPT Preparatory Committee meeting.
In 1995, I was privileged to help lead the successful campaign to gain agreement among the parties to extend the treaty indefinitely, and I look forward to the prospect of participating again in the treaty's review at another critical juncture in its history. In working towards this objective, the United States is prepared to pursue initiatives to strengthen each of the NPT's three pillars; non- proliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy that reflect that basic bargain of this important international instrument, a bargain which the President affirmed in Prague is a sound one. We need to renew and reinvigorate this bargain, and the 2010 Review Conference will provide an important opportunity to do so.
As the President's Prague speech made clear, the United States takes seriously its obligations under Article 6 of the NPT to pursue nuclear disarmament, and we will continue to support the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as reflected in Article 4, as long as those uses are in conformity with the treaty's overarching non- proliferation obligation.
At the same time, we will be prepared to work with our partners to stem the threat of nuclear weapons, to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of those would use them for destructive purposes, and to strengthen international safeguards to deter and detect non-compliance. And we must continue to work aggressively to ensure that countries that break the treaty's rules face real and immediate consequences.
Madam Chairman, the policies and plans outlined by President Obama and Secretary Clinton have already had a significant positive impact on the atmosphere for the review of the treaty next year. Our fellow NPT parties recognize that the U.S. will not be able to initiate immediately the many measures we hope to take to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
However, many recognize and appreciate that a new era has dawned, one that will restore confidence in the NPT and the regime in general.
If confirmed, I will work with colleagues in the State Department and elsewhere in the government, as well as with other NPT stakeholders, to lay the groundwork for a 2010 Review Conference that will reinforce the treaty as an effective legal and political barrier to nuclear proliferation. We will strive for recommitment by the parties to the three pillars of the treaty. We will also seek a conference that helps set a new course in the direction of the greater fulfillment of the vital objectives of the NPT, stemming proliferation, working toward a world free of nuclear weapons, and sharing the benefits of nuclear energy for sustainable development.
Madam Chairman, I have been privileged to serve our country for more than 30 years at the Department of Defense, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Department of State. Twenty of those years have been spent working on non-proliferation issues. I know these issues are difficult, and I know the challenges are great. But this Administration is determined to meet those challenges while strengthening the international institutions and treaty regimes that ensure a collective effort. If confirmed, I will consult frequently with Congress and particularly this committee, whose interest in and support for these issues has been so consistent over the years.
Thank you again, Madam Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to be here, and I look forward to any questions.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you very much to both of our nominees. We will now begin the questions. I will go first.
And Dr. Daalder, you talked, as both Senator DeMint and I did, about the importance of succeeding in Afghanistan. Can you give the committee a better sense of how you would approach the issue of burden sharing in Afghanistan, and is it your opinion that other NATO allies share the perspective that you talked about, about the importance of success in Afghanistan and success in Afghanistan being critical to NATO?
DR. DAALDER: Thank you, senator, for the question. And the issue of burden sharing is the key here. What is gratifying is that the Administration when it came in and started its strategic review consulted very closely and frequently with the allies, as well as with other partners in the ISAF mission. The secretary went over. The vice president went to Germany and he went to NATO. Ambassador Holbrooke went over, and there was an extraordinary degree of consultation, which led to a NATO endorsement of the new strategy that the President announced at the end of the year.
This is no longer just an American strategy. It is now a NATO strategy. And at the summit it was recognized that Afghanistan is the key priority, not just of the United States and one or two allies, but of all 28 NATO allies. With that understanding comes a commitment and a responsibility. And indeed, there was a significant down payment by the allies in terms of new forces, in terms of training capabilities, in terms of money for the Afghan national army and trust fund given at the summit to start implementing the strategy with the resources and the manpower and womanpower that is required in order to make it a success.
But it is a down payment, and it seems to me that the challenge, if I am confirmed, working with others in this Administration, is to make absolutely sure not only that the allies make good on the commitment, but that they up that commitment to fully resource the strategy as it was agreed by them earlier in -- earlier this month, and then that it is sustained, that this is not just a quick uptick in terms of forces and money and capabilities, but that it is sustained over the longer run, that it is not just for a couple of months or even for a year or so, but that we're in this together all the way to the end until we have succeeded.
And if I'm confirmed, Madam Chairwoman and members of the committee, I think this is my number one priority. It is the one thing I will spend in day in, day out to make sure we can get this done.
SEN. SHAHEEN: And were you concerned that -- about the reluctance of some of our NATO allies to be willing to commit troops to active military zones within Afghanistan?
DR. DAALDER: It is concerning that there are -- as an alliance -- the countries that are having forces in the theater are operating under different rules of operations and that some of them have caveats on where they will be deployed and under what circumstance. If we are an alliance, we are in it together until the end, and we ought to be fighting alongside of each other. Some of our allies are. There are a number of allies, and Senator DeMint mentioned the Canadians, the Danes. There are a variety of allies who are fighting alongside us and have been from the very beginning, and it ought to be recognized that when we talk about NATO there are those who certainly are bearing a significant portion of the burden in terms of life as well as in terms of resources.
All of the allies, however, are committed to this operation. All of them have capabilities in them, even if some of them still have caveats. We need to work to remove as many caveats as we can. We've made progress. It used to be that only 12 countries within ISAF had no caveats. Right now it's 18. That's a 50 percent increase. It used to be that there were 82 caveats in total. They are now around 70. It's not good enough. It needs to get a lot better. More of the forces need to be able to deploy in the places that commanders say they need to be deployed without having to go back to national parliaments, and that is the task that I think we all have to make sure that the number of caveats are starkly reduced and ultimately eliminated.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
Ms. Burk, can you talk a little but about some of your goals for the 2010 Review Conference. Can you be more specific about some of those goals and how we accomplish those, and also about the obstacles in achieving the kinds of things that you talked about in terms of reinforcing the NPT.
MS. BURK: Thank you. In talking about the goals and thinking about this, I think one of the -- a key goal for the Review Conference would be to have the parties recommit themselves to this treaty and reaffirm their support for the instrument and for the measures that need to be taken in order to implement it fully. To do that, I think we need to be able to unambiguously persuade our partners that we are unambiguously committed to the treaty, and I think we'll be able to do that with the statements that have been made already by the President and other senior officials and through diplomacy. So we want to make sure that all of the treaty parties understand that we're in this all the way, and we would like them to be there as well.
And other goals I think in looking at some of the problems that have plagues the regime -- we will probably want to look at the issue of compliance, how to enforce compliance, how to dissuade countries from engaging in non-compliant behavior. We'll want to look at the issue of withdrawal, how to make it more difficult to withdraw, more costly to withdraw without cause, of course. We'll want to look at strengthening safeguards. That's sort of a perennial non- proliferation issue, but with the additional protocol now in place with the U.S. having ratified the additional protocol. We're in a very strong position to encourage others to do the same and try to universalize that important safeguards agreement.
The peaceful uses of nuclear energy -- there's clearly been a renaissance and interest in that since I was last in this field. There are a number of initiatives I'm aware of -- I don't know the details -- the Fuel Bank and others -- that we need to work on and try to promote those as ways to respond to the needs particularly of the developing world to have access to the peaceful atom, but in a proliferation sensible way. And I think a final issue is just securing nuclear material, particularly now with concern about the terrorist threat.
I didn't address the obstacles, but I'd be happy to.
SEN. SHAHEEN: That's fine. I'm out of time, and so --
MS. BURK: Okay.
SEN. SHAHEEN: -- we'll get back to that possibly.
SEN. DEMINT: Thank you.
Dr. Daalder, Russia has complained of threats and provocative actions from NATO, specifically missile defense and NATO expansion.
Do you believe that NATO missile defense plans in Czech Republic and Poland pose a legitimate threat to Russia, and how would you respond to their complaints?
DR. DAALDER: Thanks, senator, and no, I don't believe that ten interceptors and a radar in Eastern Europe is a threat to the Russian deterrent. It's clearly not directed at them. It is not the right place to put that missile defense system if they were really interested in intercepting Russian missiles. The goal of this missile defense system is to deal with the emerging nuclear and ballistic missile threat coming from Iran. That is where the threat is coming from, Europe to the United States. Indeed, I would argue it's even coming to Russia. And the purpose of this missile defense system is to focus on that threat and needs to be seen in that light.
SEN. DEMINT: Is the fact that it's (in order ?) to deal with Iranian missiles suggest and -- or imply an acceptance of a nuclear Iran?
DR. DAALDER: Not in the least. I think the President put it well in his speech in Prague. He said that the ballistic missile defense system that is contemplated for Europe is directed at the nuclear and ballistic missile threat from Iran, and if that threat were to be eliminated, then the driving force -- and I quote the words -- "the driving force of a missile defense system would be removed." In other words, the missile defense system is very targeted on a particular threat. There is still the hope and the effort by the -- by the diplomats and others to try to contain and eliminate that threat, and if it is, then the rationale for the missile defense system would exist. But if the threat continues, then the missile defense system would have to be deployed, provided it is cost effective and it, in fact, works.
SEN. DEMINT: What is your reaction to the NATO exercises in Georgia that are planned?
DR. DAALDER: The exercises that are planned for May 5th until June is an exercise that would agree to -- back in late 2007 is the first time we talked about it, was raised with NATO and all the partnership countries, including the Russians, back in the spring of 2008. We have exercises like this regularly, on a regular basis. Russia could have participated, was part of the planning process all along for many, many months on this exercise, and the exercise ought to continue. It was long planned. It is designed to enhance the interoperability of NATO and partner country forces to engage in peace operations if and when they should occur. And if Russia has any concerns, the best way to assuage those concerns is to participate in the exercise, which they are still able to do, at least as observers.
SEN. DEMINT: When I was in Europe a couple weeks ago, I heard from U.S. commanders that they were unable to support a number of NATO missions and training exercises due to lack of resources. Is that something you're aware of or concerned about? What's your reaction to that?
DR. DAALDER: Well, clearly, the contributions by -- in the defense field by certain allies are insufficient. There is a commitment, after all, by NATO to spend at least two percent of GDP on defense. A few countries -- I believe it's at the moment four countries -- meet that commitment, which other -- in other words, 24 countries do not. That is clearly not sufficient. If we are an alliance, everyone needs to share equally in the burdens as they share in the responsibilities of that alliance, and I think one of the most important things I need to do if I am confirmed is to spend time with our friends and allies to convince them, even in these hard economic times, to spend more on defense, to spend what they spend on defense more wisely than they have up to this point, and to do so in order to make sure that the alliance can fulfill its own stated obligations and do the missions that it has assigned itself.
SEN. DEMINT: Specifically, these commanders we're referring to -- American assets and resources that we are short and which made it difficult for us to participate in all of the exercises.
DR. DAALDER: I'm not aware of those problems, but --
SEN. DEMINT: Oh, okay.
DR. DAALDER: -- I imagine that since we are involved in two major wars, we're stretched. There's no doubt about that, sir.
SEN. DEMINT: Yeah.
Ms. Burk, just to -- a couple of questions. Do you have a concern over the -- as we negotiate to reduce -- continue to reduce the number in our nuclear arsenal and Russia, other countries, are you concerned about the reliability of our nuclear arsenal, and specifically, do you support the modernization of our nuclear capabilities while you work to reduce the number of nuclear weapons around the world?
MS. BURK: Thank you, senator. I should clarify that I don't expect to be involved in any negotiations on reducing the nuclear arsenal. I would only point to the President's statement in Prague where, as you described, you know, the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons -- he did qualify the comment by saying that he understood it would take a long time, maybe not in his lifetime, and he said as long as we have -- as long as there are nuclear weapons, we will have to maintain a safe and secure and reliable arsenal. I think that was the comment, and that's all I could say in response to that because I don't expect to have a role in that particular negotiation.
SEN. DEMINT: Okay.
Madam Chairman, I yield back. Thank you both.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
SEN. KAUFMAN: Yes, thank you, Madam Chairman.
SEN. EDWARD E. KAUFMAN (R-DE): Yes, thank you, Madam Chairman.
Dr. Daalder, in your Foreign Affairs, September 2006 you said "NATO's next move must be to open its membership to any democratic state willing and able to contribute to the fulfillment of NATO's new responsibility." Do you still feel that even after -- that NATO enlargement's a good idea? And if so, what kind of countries are you thinking about, and then third, do you really think something will come to pass?
DR. DAALDER: Thank you, senator. My deal is that NATO needs -- that NATO enlargement has been an extraordinary success in stabilizing Europe, that the prospect of an enlargement has allowed countries and enabled countries to democratize, to become stronger and more capable, and that that process, therefore, needs to remain a central feature of what the alliance is about. Those countries that are in Europe that are not yet members and would like to become members -- we have a process for helping those countries reach the day that they can become members.
I realize that the treaty signed in 1949, 60 years ago in Article 10, limits the future expansion of NATO to European countries. The article, which I wrote in Foreign Affairs and that you site -- it tried to make a bigger point. And while I disavow the notion that we should be spend time now thinking about how we can get non-European countries to become members, that is not on the table in NATO. It's frankly, as far as I know, not on the table for the Administration.
What I do think is important and what is already happening and is continuing to happen is for NATO to have strong relationships with countries that are not members of the alliance and indeed not even European members. One of the largest contributors to our operation in Afghanistan is Australia. It is important that the United -- that the -- that NATO has capabilities that are interoperable with the Australian forces so that the radios can communicate, that the tactics that the two -- or the forces that are partner forces are part of a -- the NATO mission are similar and work in the same direction.
And it is that -- what is the real issue. The real issue is how does NATO, a regional alliance, work within a global security structure and find partners around the world, both countries that are in Europe and countries that are outside of Europe, to ensure security for us and for others in order to promote peace and security around the world? And for that (one ?), we need partners that go beyond Europe and indeed beyond the alliance.
SEN. KAUFMAN: I think you're right about the political implications, how it's good (to expand ?) but in terms of NATO's military operation, you know, we have 70 caveats, you know, trying to get agreement between all the different parties whenever we go into military action. Are you concerned at all about that in terms of continued growth?
DR. DAALDER: Well, I think the (direction ?) in Afghanistan is not a good one. We should not have operations that are NATO operations in which countries are allowed to set their own rules of engagement. We should operate under one set of rule of engagement. If we can't agree on those rules, then let's hammer it out, (right ?). I realize that may take a little bit more time, but that it's far preferable than having one set of countries who are operating under one set of rules and another set of countries under a different set of rules. I do believe that the principle that if the alliance is going to be engaged in military operations, it ought to do so with one objective, with one clear mission, and with one set of rules of operation.
And sure, that is more difficult when you have 28 countries than when you were -- when you had 12. It is also more difficult the further out you go from the core area of the alliance. But that's the world we're living in, and the challenge, it seems to me, and the one that I will spend a lot of time on as we've developed this strategic concept, and should I be confirmed, is, in fact, to figure out how do you maintain that kind of focus and that kind of complementarity in terms of the operations and the rules of engagement?
SEN. KAUFMAN: Thank you.
Ms. Burk, as special representative, how will you advance multilateral efforts to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies?
MS. BURK: Well, I think -- thank you, senator. That's a great question. I'm not sure that I will be directly involved in doing that. Again, not trying to take a pass, but trying to look specifically at the focus of my position. There are a lot of different initiatives that have been in place I know that are being looked at by the current Administration to deal with the spread of enrichment and reprocessing. I think the fuel bank idea, as I understand it, is a way of providing the services and the enriched fuel that countries would need to power reactors without having to have the proliferation of the kind of facilities that would produce that material.
So if we're working on promoting the notion of a fuel bank and sort of an international consortium of the context of the NPT, that could be my contribution to this effort if I'm confirmed.
SEN. KAUFMAN: What do you expect to accomplish at the 2010 NPT Review Conference?
MS. BURK: Well, again, a strong reaffirmation of the treaty, a recommitment. It would be great to end the conference with a sense that we're sort of turning a new chapter, and it's got a new lease on life. I think that would be a great thing to come out with. A lot of this is sort of cosmic. And then some of it -- I haven't really -- they're -- the ideas I'd like to look at, if I'm confirmed -- but it would be good if the conference could result in some constructive recommendations for tangible, additional measures to strengthen the regime that the parties could take as a group collectively or in groups.
So don't want to set too many ambitious goals about written documents and that sort of thing because with a consensus procedure one country can prevent success. So would like to try to define success in ways that we could achieve it.
SEN. KAUFMAN: How would you -- I mean, I had -- obviously, it's brand new. It's a great assignment, and -- but in -- a lack of ability to kind of control the spread of nuclear programs, like in North Korea, Iran, Syria. What are your thoughts about that? I mean, is that -- you still come into this confident we can continue to stop proliferation?
MS. BURK: Yeah, I do. And I think if you look -- I understand there are 190 parties to the treaty now. With the few exceptions that you've mentioned, everyone else is playing by the rules. So, you know, we've got to kind of galvanize this force. We've got to pull together as a team and, you know, reaffirm the international consensus against proliferation. To my mind, that seems to be a pretty powerful tool to use with these individual countries that have stepped outside the lines. They're the exception, not the rule.
SEN. KAUFMAN: Good. Both of you have real challenges here that are extraordinarily important. I want to thank you for your public service and for doing this.
Thank you, chairman.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you, Madam Chairman. I want to take the liberty of making a statement of hopes that I have for both of you. I have great respect for both of you, and your records speak for themselves, and we're delighted your families are here and support you, as the chairwoman has pointed out.
But let me start, Ms. Burk, by saying next year most of the world's governments will attend the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference. If confirmed, you'll be responsible for fashioning a strategy for the conference, meeting our delegation there. And it is crucial our representatives are prepared to lead. A successful strategy, in my judgment, should highlight through advocacy and example the progress made by the United States in recent years and our intent to provide leadership on non-proliferation in the future. I would highlight several items that should be apart of the United States posture at the conference.
First, we've made great strides in reducing levels of deployed nuclear weapons. Our arsenal has been cut back dramatically under the START and Moscow treaties. The United States and Russia have begun to work to extend the START Treaty to ensure the foundation of our bilateral arms control cooperation will remain strong. Successful negotiations toward a follow-on agreement to START would send an important signal of our intentions to continue to reduce our nuclear arsenals to all the members of the conference.
Second, through the Nunn-Lugar program and its partners, the U.S. has assisted in destroying more than 7,000 nuclear warheads and their delivery systems in the former Soviet Union, and continues to eliminate nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, the materials and infrastructure.
Now, we should explain that the United States is willing to go anywhere at any time to help partners secure and eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Third, the United States must continue to lead the international community toward the creation of an international fuel bank, in my judgment. That would eliminate the need for individual countries to construct enrichment and reprocessing facilities that have potential dual use capabilities.
Fourth, the United States should engage the international community in developing a verification regime for the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. And fifth, the United States must lead in increasing resources for the IAEA detection and inspection capabilities, and we must work with other nations to increase the consequences for countries breaking their NPT commitments.
And I look forward to working with you on all of these objectives because they are international in their scope, and in many of them, as you pointed out -- they're not points of negotiation, but I've stressed, example, achievements that have occurred and reasons why others might find us credible and a leader.
Diplomatic challenges posed by the NPT Review Conference are similar to those we face at NATO. The NATO alliance remains the most successful alliance in history, but if NATO is to continue to be the preeminent security alliance and serve the defense interest of its membership. It should, as you've pointed out, Dr. Daalder, it should evolve, it should expand, it should improve. And the President recently attended the 60th anniversary of the Washington Treaty in Strausberg, welcomed Albania and Croatia as NATO's newest members. Their accession into the alliance expands the zone of peace and security on the continent and marks the culmination of an eight-year process of democratic, military, and free market transformation.
Potential NATO membership motivates emerging democracies to make advances in areas such as Rule of Law and civil society. Unfortunately, the alliance has thus far failed to extend membership action and plans to Georgia and Ukraine, and this sends, in my judgment, the wrong signal to Moscow and the international community. If confirmed by this Senate, I hope you would succeed three talented and successful U.S. diplomats, namely Ambassadors Nick Burns, Troy Newland (ph), Kurt Volker. They face difficult circumstances in their efforts to increase European defense budgets to enhance contributions to Afghanistan, to remove the operational conditions on European military forces we've been discussing, and to focus on emerging threats to NATO members.
You'll be responsible for advancing these priorities and providing leadership in addressing new security areas, such as energy independence. Unfortunately, some NATO members still resist multilateral energy security policies, preferring a go it alone strategy that leaves their neighbors in precarious positions. And our United States leadership I think will be crucial if these dangers are to be reversed for our NATO allies.
Let me just indicate that as part of my questions -- (I made ?) a visit to Brussels in September, and this followed the Georgia incidents in August. A NATO nation that will remain nameless, but those -- that borders fairly close to Russia were insisting upon really assurances, what Article 5 is all about. Now, we've all known Article 5 is -- we defend one, we defend all. We come to each other. At a NATO conference in Riga when I was asked to speak awhile back, I talked about the fact that aggression could come by energy cutoff. And behind the barn, foreign ministers said you're right, but we don't about this publicly. This is an existential problem, bilaterally we try to work it out until -- another cutoff occurred, and there's been more conversation, but still all sorts sovereignty barriers.
This led some to be nervous to even ask me or ask our NATO ambassador, Kurt Volker, would you come in the event that there was an incident in our country in which somebody felt that somebody had misused power and so forth. It was interesting that at that very moment that I was there that the Polish government decided to sign the missile agreement very quickly, and very publicly said we're not altogether certain about what this is about, but we know American troops would be in Poland. They'll be beside the installation. That's what we're interested in.
What is your feeling, Dr. Daalder, having looked at this for a long while, about the feeling of security of the members themselves about Article 5, the fundamental situation quite apart from success in Afghanistan or with energy or other things I've suggested?
DR. DAALDER: Senator, thanks for your statement, and I agree with every word you uttered, particularly the question you're asking on how do we make concrete what is in essence only a paper promise of Article 5 to come to the defense of our allies? And as the President made very clear when he was in Strausberg, this is high on his agenda too, and he urged the alliance and its military commanders to engage in contingency planning of all kinds.
And part of the reason we need a new strategic concept is so that we can incorporate different threats than the ones that we may have been planning for in the last 60 years, including whether the discussion of energy security and others -- in order to make concrete -- what does Article 5 really mean? How do we send -- if we are going to defend territory physically, how do we send the troops from point A to point B? Military planners are extraordinarily good at it. We haven't done enough in the last few years, and the President made very clear that if Article 5 is to mean anything, it has to mean that we have contingency plans for the defense of all alliance territory and not just some.
And I think if I am confirmed, that is going to be the message I take with me to Brussels, and it will be the message that we will work within (the neck ?), and hopefully, it's the message that our military commanders will work in -- (inaudible).
SEN. LUGAR: Let me just -- I mean, I have one more minute, and then --
DR. DAALDER: Sure.
SEN. LUGAR: Ms. Burk, do you have any comment about my five suggestions, not that you could take notes that rapidly and record all of them, but obviously, you're trying to define your responsibilities, as opposed to others who also are dealing with non-proliferation and arms control. But I'm interested especially in the thought that at least our bilateral relationship with Russia -- and the President's recognized this, as have Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates in pointing out maybe by July there might be some preliminary feeling between Russia and the United States about the continuation of the START Treaty, which expires December 5th, and time goes rapidly (as the new ?) Administration organizes.
But it's so critical that this transparency, the intrusive inspection that we have done bilaterally, is there for the rest of the world so that as you meet with the 189 nations, they find more credible the thought that -- the reports that I get each month from the Pentagon that ten warheads were taken off of missiles, or three missiles destroyed or so forth -- that this is for real and that we are for real with regard to all of this. But I ask if you have any overall comment about the thoughts I expressed.
MS. BURK: Thank you, Senator Lugar. I want to say your leadership on these issues over the years has always been exceptional, and you've been out there on the point on these issues for a long time. I, like Ivo, agree with everything you've said. You've identified a number of key points that I think the Administration agrees with and that will be pursued.
On the Russia point, as a co-depositary of the NPT with us, the Russians have a big stake in the maintenance and the integrity, continuing integrity of this treaty. And in the past, and I assume in the future, if confirmed, I would certainly be wanting to talk to the Russians and the British as our co-depositaries to make sure that we hold this regime together.
On the specific measures, as you mentioned, a lot of these initiatives are going to be pursued by other people, not to coin a phrase from the secretary, but it will take a village. And I think the success of the NPT conference next year will be a function of how we're doing in a number of different corners.
SEN. LUGAR: And how the -- (inaudible) -- worked -- (inaudible) --
MS. BURK: If confirmed, I give you my pledge that I will do everything I can to get as smart on all of these issues as possible, but I won't be doing them. I'll be, you know, relying on others and sending my best wishes that they're successful in these various areas, because all of these areas will help us make the case to the other parties that we're committed, we're doing our part, and will give us the authority to urge them to do their part as well.
SEN. LUGAR: Yes. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you. I'd actually like to follow up on an issue that Senator Lugar raises relative to energy security and recognize his leadership and his being a strong advocate for trans- Atlantic security, energy security dialogue.
But Dr. Daalder, do you believe that energy security should be considered apart of NATO's mission? And if so, what role should NATO play in this question?
DR. DAALDER: As Secretary Clinton said when she was before this committee for her confirmation hearings, this is an issue that ought to be discussed in Brussels with NATO. And I think the opportunity arises exactly -- how it's going to fit in the larger context is going to arise within the mandate of redoing the strategic concept, and we're going to spend the next 18 months -- and if I have the chance to be part of it, if I'm confirmed -- on figuring out what are the threats for which NATO needs to be prepared, how should it prepare for those threats? And as part of that, energy security is going to be at the table, and certainly the United States will raise it. I can't predict where we're going to end up, but it is clear that the kind of issues that we have seen in 2006 and again earlier this year of energy cutoffs has implications for the security environment in Europe, (and it is such -- is that -- ?) is something that the NATO alliance ought to address.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
And Ms. Burk, I'm going to ask you to go back to my initial question around the obstacles that you see in accomplishing the goals for the 2010 Review Conference.
MS. BURK: Thinking off the top of my head, I mean, clearly, the problems we're having with the issues of compliance -- that's something we have to deal with because we have to address head on any concern that somehow the treaty isn't relevant or it's unraveling. I'm not sure that -- I don't think it's irrelevant. I think it's more relevant than ever, and it's definitely under stress, but I'm not sure it's unraveling.
And I would just say from past experience this is going to require quite concerted diplomacy because in a lot of the worlds we're -- the world where countries are not dealing with proliferators next door the importance of this treaty isn't a daily issue. And in the past when we've been successful with review conferences and getting positive outcomes, it's because the United States in particular has engaged in very aggressive diplomacy to get out and educate and remind parties and countries of the importance of this treaty to international security. And that can be done through our embassies and others to just get the message out and do some education and missionary work to remind people about the importance of this agreement.
And so both -- there are obstacles and sort of -- it's resource issues and other sorts of things, but those would be the main ones I would see. We have a good hand. We're playing a good hand of cards. We should be able to get this done.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Good. Thank you.
Senator Lugar, any further questions? If not, we will leave the record open until 5:00 tomorrow for any questions to be submitted by members of the committee. Again, I'd like to thank you both for your testimony here today and for your willingness to consider these appointments at a very difficult time and to be willing to put yourself out there to deal with these challenging issues that are facing the country. Thank you both very much.
At this time the hearing is concluded.