WASHINGTON, June 3, 2014 – Ongoing ties with Turkey are vital to the Defense Department’s productivity and efficiency, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics said here yesterday.
In remarks at the 33rd Annual Conference on United States-Turkish Relations, Frank Kendall said strong relations with partners such as Turkey -- a country with a vibrant, healthy economy and developing aerospace and defense industrial sectors -- has mutual benefits, even as the specter of sequestration defense spending cuts looms in fiscal year 2016.
The current budget environment creates an attachment to force structure and programs that strains readiness, investment, research, development and procurement accounts, Kendall said.
“The value of working together, particularly with as capable a partner as Turkey, is huge for the United States,” Kendall said, citing trade and cooperation sales estimates at more than $5 billion last year alone. “That’s a significant amount of business we do together, and we have every expectation that there would be reason for that to continue going forward.”
Mutual cost benefits and capabilities in which the United States and Turkey can reinforce each other operationally provide “huge advantages in sustainment for both of our forces,” he said.
Kendall also noted the success of programs such as the F-35 joint strike fighter and air defense, in which the United States will continue to seek opportunities to cooperate with Turkey.
“We’re now negotiating our eighth lot of [F-35] production, and I’m very encouraged by Turkey’s decision to procure its first airplanes in lot 10,” he said. “So we’re … working on a number of issues we have with Turkey in terms of how that relationship will continue, but I think we’re making great progress.”
And these mutual benefits, Kendall said, only reinforce relations between the United States and Turkey. “It makes the ties that bind us stronger, and it makes us better in business together and to trust each other going forward,” he said. “We’re living in a more dangerous world, … and that does not seem to be changing any time soon.”