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Sunday, March 20, 2011

NATO Countries Seek Intelligence-Sharing Amid Austerity

BRUSSELS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Nine NATO countries have launched a project to share imagery from national assets, which is in line with the alliance's chief's call for "smart defense" amid austerity.

The five-year project aims to rapidly sharing imagery and other information from expensive assets of nine participating countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Britain and the United States.

The intelligence-sharing technology currently used by NATO allies in Afghnistan will be extended and applied in the project, the alliance said in a statement Thursday.

The project, which was launched in February, is worth more than 100 million euros, the statement said.

"By rapidly sharing imagery, we can avoid having multiple assets deployed in the same location, cover a significantly larger area, or cover a specific area for a longer period. In effect, what we get is more intelligence for our euro," said Lieutenant Colonel Arle Brustad of Norway, chairman of the project team.

Earlier this year, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed the so-called "smart defense" concept, which calls for further cooperation and coordination among NATO countries in a period of military budgets cuts.

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