Shelton Signs Cooperation Plan With Russians

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2000 - The top U.S. and Russian
military leaders signed the 2001 Plan of Cooperation that
sets out how the two militaries will work together.

Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and Gen. Anatoliy Kvashnin, chief of the Russian
general staff, signed the plan Dec. 12. The plan is an
important part of engagement between the two countries.
During a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Defense Secretary
William S. Cohen and Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev
agreed the plan could help reduce what Sergeyev called "the
permafrost" in U.S.-Russian relations.

The plan is divided into three parts: visits by Russian
military delegations to the United States, visits by U.S.
military delegations to the Russia, and major combined
exercises and exchanges at various command levels.

For example, the commander of the U.S. Army XVIII Airborne
Corps will visit the commander of Russian airborne forces
next summer. In another visit under the plan, the commander
of Russia's Strategic 37th Air Army of the Supreme High
Command will travel to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to
meet the commander of the 8th Air Force.

The Russians are to participate in an arctic search and
rescue exercise with U.S. and Canadian units. They also
will also observe BALTOPS '01, an annual summertime
exercise held in the Baltic Sea.

The two countries will also participate in an officer
exchange program. U.S. and Russian officials will work out
the details of the exchange program.

The idea of working together is not new. In 1988, the
chairman, Navy Adm. William Crowe, worked out a plan of
cooperation with his Soviet counterpart, General of the
Army Sergei Akhromeyev. This annual program of contacts
grew out of a desire on the part of both militaries to
improve planning through the setting of a formal agenda.

The program covers the significant U.S. and Russian
military-to-military contacts. Other possible interaction
during the year include medical exchanges, environmental
cooperation, cooperative threat reduction efforts and
ongoing U.S. and Russian operations in Bosnia and Kosovo.