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Viewing cable 08REYKJAVIK127, CLOSING OUT THE ICELAND AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM TRANSFER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08REYKJAVIK127 2008-07-01 12:12 2011-01-13 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0127/01 1831251
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 011251Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3714
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE 0074
RHMFISS/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE IMMEDIATE
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0315
RUEHNO/US MISSION NATO BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000127 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR A/S FRIED, A/PDAS GARBER, EUR/NB, EUR/RPM, PM/RSAT 
OSD-P FOR DASD FATA, T. HARVEY, A. WINTERNITZ 
HQ USAF FOR SAF/IA 
USEUCOM FOR J-5 
OSLO FOR ODC, DATT 
 
FROM AMBASSADOR VAN VOORST 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2018 
TAGS: MASS PREL MARR NATO PGOV IC
SUBJECT: CLOSING OUT THE ICELAND AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM TRANSFER 
 
Refs: A) 07 Reykjavik 99 
  B) Memorandum from USD Edelman to Secretary of the Air Force, 08 
May 2007 
  C) 07 Reykjavik 192 
  D) 07 Reykjavik 322 
  E) State 63686 
 
Classified By: Amb. Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  Twenty-one months after the closure of U.S. Naval 
Air Station Keflavik, one major issue remains unresolved:  the 
ultimate disposition of the residual parts and equipment associated 
with the Iceland Air Defense System (IADS).  The Government of 
Iceland has made the IADS radar system its key contribution to the 
defense of their country and NATO, and desperately wants to complete 
this transfer as soon as possible.  Although the U.S. Air Force has 
put together a significant effort to develop a Foreign Military Sales 
(FMS) case to allow the transfer, Iceland is still waiting to receive 
an authoritative Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA).  Post greatly 
appreciates all efforts but is concerned that any further delay in 
providing an LOA will materially undermine our bilateral defense 
relationship.  We look forward to the promulgation of a final LOA no 
later than July 31.  End Summary. 
 
Background 
---------- 
 
2.  (SBU) The NATO-owned Iceland Air Defense System (IADS) is 
composed of four radar sites at Iceland's geographic "corners" linked 
to a control and reporting center and integrated software support 
facility at the former U.S. Naval Air Station Keflavik (NASKEF) site. 
 The final disposition of U.S.-owned IADS equipment (primarily 
"supply point items" or spare parts) was left unresolved during the 
2006 NASKEF closure negotiations, though a date of August 16, 2007 
was set for the handover of the system to the Government of Iceland. 
These items, a large number of which are unique to the IADS system 
and cannot be used elsewhere, are essential to the continued 
operation of the radars. 
 
3.  (C) Discussions regarding the sale or lease of this equipment 
through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case took place throughout 
2007 (Refs A and C).  At both working levels and at the Under 
Secretary level, the Government of Iceland made it clear that IADS 
transfer is of key importance and that an operational and reliable 
system is Iceland's single largest contribution to its own defense 
and its biggest contribution to NATO. 
 
4.  (SBU) In an 8 May 2007 memorandum, Under Secretary of Defense for 
Policy Edelman requested that USAF inventory U.S.-owned equipment 
vital to continued IADS operation, and develop options for its 
transfer to Iceland "minimiz[ing] the cost of such transfers to both 
Iceland and the Air Force" (Ref B).  Despite serious efforts by OSD, 
USAF International Affairs, USAF Europe, EUCOM, and others, USAF was 
not able to present an FMS case to Iceland for consideration until 
October 2007.  The price requested was approximately $5.8 million. 
Meanwhile, a contractual arrangement has allowed Iceland necessary 
access to these items despite the fact that the August 2007 IADS 
transfer date has passed. 
 
Repricing 
--------- 
 
5.  (SBU) Iceland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) raised 
concerns in November 2007 that not all items in the case were 
actually U.S.-owned and that the price for some items appeared to be 
excessive given their age and condition.  These concerns generated a 
reevaluation of the ownership of all the items as well as a review of 
whether the price for this materiel was statutorily allowable. 
Initial indications to the Government of Iceland were that some items 
were in fact NATO-owned and that the price of the FMS case would most 
likely decrease as a result.  Nevertheless, upon completion of the 
review, DOD informed the Icelandic Embassy in Washington in February 
2008 that the price of the FMS case had increased by approximately $2 
million to $7.9 million, pending final preparation of a new LOA. 
(Note: The entire 2008 defense budget for Iceland is approximately 
$20 million.  End note.) 
 
6.  (SBU) Though our Icelandic counterparts have been gravely 
disappointed at the lack of progress in this matter, they have been 
patient, noting that they would likely agree to purchase at least 
some portion of the items in the FMS case.  However, through the 
spring and summer, the Icelandic Government has become increasingly 
anxious, and representatives have raised the issue at almost every 
opportunity (ref E). 
 
7.  (C) On 9 June, the Icelandic Embassy in Washington was informed 
that the revised LOA would be delayed again due to concerns over 
proper pricing.  Post understands there is some possibility that this 
new review may actually result in a price reduction.  MFA reps have 
informed us that an LOA, whatever the terms, is long overdue.  The 
lack of a formal offer undermines their ability to appraise the offer 
and make necessary decisions.  Additionally, the MFA has asked 
whether they should regard the delays and revisions as a 
demonstration of the level of the USG's commitment to the broader 
defense relationship. 
 
Comment:  The Need for Conclusion 
--------------------------------- 
 
8.  (SBU) From the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister down, every 
level of the Icelandic Government has made it clear that IADS is the 
linchpin of Iceland's security policy.  Iceland sees IADS as its 
major contribution to facilitate the security operations of greatest 
visible importance; i.e., NATO air policing.  Although positive about 
the U.S.-Iceland defense and security relationship overall, the MFA 
and new Iceland Defense Agency nonetheless are frustrated with the 
dragged-out IADS FMS process. 
 
9.  (C) The longer this process takes, the more we add credence to 
the perception that we do not take this NATO Ally's concerns 
seriously.  The considerable efforts of all of us at EUCOM, OSD, 
USAF, State, here in Reykjavik, and elsewhere to build a new defense 
relationship after the closure of NASKEF are at risk.  An impression 
of shabby treatment is taking hold -- an impression that we cannot 
allow to remain if we wish Iceland to contribute to NATO in the North 
Atlantic neighborhood, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. 
 
10.  (SBU) I look forward to the promulgation of the revised LOA and 
am hopeful that this matter can be wrapped up by no later than 31 
July 2008.  Embassy Reykjavik stands ready to assist in any way 
possible. 
 
 
VAN VOORST