WASHINGTON — Before departing on a trip to meet with NATO and European military leaders, Defense Secretary Les Aspin outlined an ambitious plan Friday for military operations among selected nations that would address changing post-Cold War security needs.
Speaking to the Atlantic Council, a nonprofit public-policy center, Aspin said that under the plan, members of NATO and Central and Eastern European nations would share military planning and training operations and would undertake rescue missions, disaster relief and peacekeeping patrols.
"These consultations," he said, "should do much to increase the sense of security and stability of the Eastern Europeans."
The program, dubbed Partnership for Peace, would operate under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, described by Aspin as lying "at the heart of any new Euro-Atlantic security system."
Aspin leaves Tuesday for Belgium and France, where he will meet with NATO leaders and other defense ministers to push the plan.