Tanner acknowledges 60th anniversary of NATO
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 8:35 am
The House of Representatives passed a resolution Monday introduced by U.S. Rep. John Tanner to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and support ongoing efforts to rebuild diplomatic relationships with NATO allies.
Tanner chairs the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and serves as President of the NATO PA, the alliance’s legislative branch.
H. Res. 152, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States remains committed to NATO, passed March 30 by a voice vote.
“NATO, today, is evolving into the only truly international organization with the ability to go to a place where chaos reigns, bring some order to it, and back it up with some military capability,” Tanner said in a March 25 hearing on the legislation by the Foreign Affairs Committee, on which he serves.
Tanner said that NATO has been largely responsible for peace in Europe since World War II, plays a pivotal role in the Balkans and supports U.S. efforts in Afghanistan – where there are currently more allied troops than American troops. That partnership lessens the burden on U.S. servicemembers, including those in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell Army Base, a portion of which Tanner represents in the House.
“Some of those soldiers have been gone four out of the last five years,” Tanner continued in his remarks before the committee. “That is too much. Our military is being stretched too thin. We are losing senior [non-commissioned officers] and junior officers because of the operations tempo that has taken such a toll on military people and their families. Fighting two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, has taken a tremendous toll on the military.
“The other part about NATO that people sometimes don’t realize is the interoperability when it comes to intelligence-gathering; particularly, the Eastern European new NATO members that were part of the old Warsaw Pact, have some intelligence capabilities that we do not possess and will not possess. Other NATO members have intelligence capabilities in North Africa that we do not possess, and cannot possess, and they share with us some of those intelligence assets,” Tanner said.
NATO will celebrate its 60th anniversary with an April 4 summit in Strasbourg-Kehl on the German-French border. Tanner will attend that summit and make remarks as President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
“When one thinks about the 60th anniversary of NATO being celebrated on the border of Germany and France, and what happened in the last century, with respect to those two countries, twice – both times, dragging the United States into World War I and World War II – if, for no other reason,” Tanner continued. “I think the symbolism that will occur there is worthy of our support.”
Tanner’s resolution is not required to be considered by the Senate or the President.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Tennessee Army National Guard, Tanner represents the 8th Congressional District in West and Middle Tennessee. Co-founder of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, Tanner serves on the Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the Social Security Subcommittee, and on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
He chairs the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is serving a two-year term as NATO PA President.