From a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Kosovo yesterday:

Sen. John Warner: Mr. Secretary [Defense Secretary William Cohen], you made a very profound statement in your opening comments about the need for the NATO nations to begin to re-equip themselves so that they can pick up, should we ever be confronted with a comparable situation [to Kosovo] . . . the training missions, the lift [and] the precision guidance weapons. . . .

And I have been following with interest the suggestion that our defense industry in the United States is looking for partners through merger in Europe.

Would that be a region to support these mergers in your judgment? . . . To the extent our industrial base is more closely linked legally, financially, with counterparts in Europe, it may well result in a realization by those countries that they must equip themselves with more modern weapons and airlift.

Secretary Cohen: You are precisely correct, Mr. Chairman. . . . We expect and anticipate there will be mergers and acquisitions [provided] . . . that those countries who seek to merge with U.S. firms . . . also have high standards as far as their protection of proprietary information and protection in terms of technology transfer. . . .

So we think that they are not only inevitable but desirable, provided we have the kind of restrictions and expectations that they will control that technology so it doesn't fall into the hands of third parties.