Sharing Alliance Burdens Equitably

The conception of burden sharing in previous administrations was that our allies should share our burden; the thrust of the Nixon Doctrine is that their primary task is to shoulder their own. The emphasis is no longer on their sharing the cost of America's military commitment to Europe-although financial arrangements may play a part-but on their providing the national forces needed in conjunction with ours in support of an effective common strategy.

Our allies have responded to this shift in emphasis. We were gratified when at the December NATO Council meeting our European allies joined in a pledge to strengthen their national forces and to inaugurate a new joint program of modernizing NATO's common infrastructure.

The program announced in December will accelerate construction of aircraft shelters. and an integrated communication system. It represents a landmark in the history of NATO-an effort undertaken, organized and financed entirely by our European allies. As Secretary Laird has pointed out, this common infrastructurethe integrated network of permanent facilities supporting NATO forces in Europe is a particularly appropriate focus of collective European effort. It is a collective asset, badly in need of improvement; our allies' effort here is of direct and permanent benefit to their own defense.