[The following are excerpts from testimony by Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, United States Department of State, Political-Military Affairs, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, D.C., December 10, 2009.]
Thank you for holding this hearing and for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on the two bilateral Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties between the United States and the United Kingdom (Treaty Document 110-7) and the United States and Australia (Treaty Document 110-10). The ratification of these treaties is strongly supported by this Administration.
The insights and questions provided by the Committee have helped to guide this Administration's review of the treaties and informed the detailed draft regulations that the Department of State (DOS) will publish once the treaties are ratified.
This Administration has conducted an exhaustive review of the treaties and their effect on United States' national security and foreign policy interests. I have met officials from the United Kingdom and Australia to discuss the treaties and their importance to our bilateral relationships. We have worked closely with representatives from the Department of Defense (DOD) to evaluate the treaties' ability to enhance interoperability with these important partners, while maintaining our national security interests. We have also worked with the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security in order to ensure that the provisions of the treaties can be implemented and enforced under current United States law. Today, I affirm to you that the President and his Administration fully support the treaties and believe they will establish a stable framework through which we can enhance our strategic relationship and battlefield readiness with these two key allies in the future.
When we speak about the details of these treaties and the framework that they establish, it is easy to lose sight of the exceedingly important role that these treaties are designed to play. I would like to share a few examples with you.
When United States and coalition forces are attacked, an improvised explosive device (IED) explodes, or a suicide bomber murders civilians, conducting a forensic investigation of the scene is essential. The information gained by such an investigation helps determine the sources of insurgent arms, ammunition, and explosives; it greatly supports the gathering and analysis of intelligence, which helps us stem the flow of arms to insurgents. It allows us to identify ways in which we can better protect our forces in combat, and it allows us to identify the dead and to prosecute the guilty. Our military has highlighted the fact that there is an urgent need to improve current capabilities in this key area. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics has stated that the treaties, if ratified, could facilitate United States, U.K., or Australian research and development that is needed to meet this urgent need. The DOD has already awarded a number of contracts in this area, and the treaties would enhance United States industry's ability to engage in technical discussions on this subject with U.K. and Australian companies. Such companies could provide solutions to technological challenges, reduce costs, and accelerate delivery of expeditionary forensic capabilities to coalition forces. Without the treaties, the ability of engineers and other scientists to just discuss the export-controlled technology associated with expeditionary forensic capabilities could be subject to many more bureaucratic processes and proceed much less seamlessly than with the treaty exemption regime in place. In this case, the treaties could be used to help meet this urgent need more effectively and even more quickly.
Another urgent requirement is the need to field non-lethal capabilities for counter-piracy and maritime counter-terrorism. The …