ACCESSION NUMBER:247640 FILE ID:POL303 DATE:10/14/92 TITLE:DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14 (10/14/92) TEXT:*92101403.POL DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14 (Cheney) (450) CHENEY REAFFIRMS IMPORTANCE OF EUROPEAN TIES Defense Secretary Cheney says it is more important than ever to "reaffirm and reeducate a whole new generation" of Americans and Europeans about the importance of maintaining the European alliance. During an October 14 address to the American Council on Germany in New York, Cheney asserted that the major Western allies have an opportunity "to shape the world like few other generations have ever had." But "those of us who believe deeply in the alliance are going to face a task over the course of the next few years of reaffirming in no uncertain terms why it is important to maintain those ties," he made plain. Cheney expressed concern that Congress voted this year to cut the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) infrastructure fund from the $220 million sought by the administration to around $60 million. Congress also included language in the 1993 Defense Authorization Bill to cut the number of U.S. troops in Europe to 100,000 by 1996; the administration wants to maintain U.S. forces there of about 150,000. Cheney explained that the 150,000 figure is based on the administration's estimate of troops needed to "maintain a full-up two division corps" to fulfill the U.S. commitment to NATO. He also stressed that America's allies provide "significant (financial) resources" to support U.S. troops in Europe. Asked about a possible future ballistic missile threat to Europe from the Middle East, the secretary said European and Middle Eastern nations are much more likely to be within range of the intermediate-range ballistic missiles expected to be available to an enemy in the future. "So, we badly need to get on with the business of developing defenses against ballistic missiles," he said. The United States is eager "to begin to cooperate with our allies on these specific programs" to defend against missiles, the secretary said. There is already an active program underway with Israel, he said, in the form of the Arrow missile. Russian President Yeltsin, for example, has made public statements about Russian willingness to enter into a joint venture with the United States in 1his area, the secretary said. He noted, however, that the French and British have expressed concern that U.S. efforts with other allies to develop defenses against ballistic missiles "might somehow undermine their own (nuclear) deterrent." Cheney said "we have got to get beyond" that notion because the threat will grow and ballistic missile capabilities will proliferate in the future. Ballistic missile defense, the secretary stressed, is "one of our most important and urgent military requirements as an alliance." NNNN .