LONDON — Three international issues that showcase common values held by the United States and the United Kingdom also highlight the benefits of a common approach to dealing with them, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told members of Parliament here Jan. 25.
In remarks before the House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group on Transatlantic and International Security, Lynn said both nations are addressing nuclear proliferation, the environment's effect on security and NATO reform.
Lynn recalled that President Barack Obama shared his vision of a world free from nuclear threat during a speech in Europe, and that he also gave a speech in Prague that motivated Defense Department officials to conduct a nuclear posture review.
Due to be released early next month along with the Quadrennial Defense Review, the nuclear posture review aims "to balance the president's call for eventual disarmament with his commitment to protect our country, and our allies, as long as a nuclear threat remains," Lynn said.
U.S. defense officials are in the final stages of concluding negotiations on a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia, Lynn said.
"We have reached the endgame, and anticipate a new START treaty that will reduce both our arsenals," he said. "We are also working to ratify and bring into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
"We are taking unprecedented steps toward a world free from the nuclear threat, while at the same time, working with the United Kingdom and NATO to responsibly ensure our own security and that of our allies," he added.
The Defense Department also is focusing high-level attention on how natural resources contribute to conflict, Lynn said. This includes resource scarcity -- especially access to hydrocarbon fuels -- as well as population growth and climate change.
"We know that climate change will exacerbate food and water shortages, increase the spread of disease, and may contribute to migration both within and across borders," he noted. "Increased poverty, environmental degradation, even social unrest and the possible weakening of governments are potential consequences."
U.S. defense officials are making installations more energy-efficient, he said. Over the past three years, the department has tripled its investment in energy technology, yielding reduced energy consumption at fixed installations by 11 percent. Nearly 5-percent of the electricity used at bases now comes from renewable sources.
Lynn went on to say U.S. officials want NATO, the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to continue developing new missions and capabilities. The alliance is in the process of drafting a new strategic concept this year.
U.S and British defense officials are "voicing support for an ambitious reform agenda," he said, that includes how to shape NATO's mission, capabilities and partnerships for the coming decade.
NATO's procedures and processes are outdated, Lynn said, and the alliance faces severe resource constraints. He called on heads of state slated to gather at the Lisbon summit in November to review NATO command structures, force structures and how the alliance reaches decisions and manages its budget.
"NATO also needs the ability to address nontraditional threats, both on its own and in cooperation with institutions like the European Union," he said. "Achieving public support for new missions will require describing how today's threats differ from those in the past, and how NATO should transform its methods of operating to meet them."