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     NATO´s new Strategic Concept

                                                           Kelly Degnan,

        Political Counsellor at the US Mission to NATO

The NATO Summit in Lisbon is 4 months away; As we prepare for that major event, NATO is focused on two primary objectives:

·        Revitalizing the Alliance, through the SC, farßreaching reforms and identifying critical capability requirements, and

·        achieving progress in Afghanistan

Why does NATO need a new Strategic Concept? It´s useful to look at the events that necessitated previous Strategic Concepts:

In 1957, Germany joined NATO; in 1968, France left NATO and the Harmel Report was issues; 1991´s Strategic Contept was in was in response to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact; and the 1999 Strategic Concept stemmed from NATO´s enlargement.

What is the defining event behind the 2010 Strategic Concept?

A globalized world with global threats and challenges like terrorism, cyber attacks, the need to diversify energy sources, climate change and failed states. NATO needs to update and reform to be responsive in a more connected, info-savvy world.

What hasn´t changed since 1949 is that Allies remain united by common values and common interests, which they protect through collective defense and cooperative security. NATO´s unity and relevance depends on dialogue (Art 4) and its credible capacity to act.

In deciding what the Strategic Concept should look like, it´s useful to unpack what holds NATO together to see if the way NATO is structured and operates makes sense as we face 21st century threats and challenges.

  • Allies came together in 1949 because of their shared community of values – democracy, individ liberty, ROL—common interests – (peace, stability, prosperity), and a commitment to promote stability of Euro Atlantic area
  • Thru consultation and consensus decision-making, Allies address common challenges and reaffirm the transatlantic link; this dialogue is the pre-condition of our solidarity and equitable sharing or roles, responsibilities and risks.
  • All of these are still relevant. As the GoE report concluded: the security of North America remains permanently tied to the security of Europe
  • And while the trans-Atlantic link remains strong, NATOP enlargement has allowed  more European nations who share our values and interests into the Alliance, and has reinforced the importance aand influence of our community of values; enlargement has helped build democracies in Europe and increased Europe´s ability to defend its populations from threats, in Europe and beyond.
  • NATO´s community of values exists in a constantly changing security enviroment: this is not new. Since 1949, we have faced new challenges/threats; NATO´s collective response has shaped dramatic shifts in security environment: Cold Was, Balkans, terrorism. The new Strategic Concept is meant to ensure we are prepared with 21st century responses to 21st century challenges.

While the Strategic Concept requires us to look forward, it also requires us to learn from the lessons of the past.

ü      We´ve learned that it´s more effective/efficient to face a constantly changing global security environment together rather than individually: working together brings greater security, stability and prosperity for all.

ü      We´ve learned that global threats require global responses; this makes collaboration and collective defense and security even more necessary and significant; the transatlantic link, comprehensive approach and partnerships have become more important in today´s world.

ü      We´ve also learned that out of area is the new norm, not exeption: ant that out of area doesn´t detract from Art 5. In fact, out of area complements defense of Allied peace and security. But, as the GoE report stresses, we need to balance the concept of out of area with Art 5 commitments.

If shared values and common interests brought Allies together in 1949, protecting this community of values from old and new thraets through collective defense is NATO´s  first core task (Arts 3, 4, 5, 6)

Ø      Alliance security is indivisible: this is the cornerstone of the Alliance. Alliece agreed, in 1949, to deter adversaries and protect the territorial integrity, political independence and security of NATO members, through the use of force if necessary.

Ø      We must ensure the Art 5 security guarantee remains credible – that is the key to our soldarity. NATO deters adversaries by being able to credibility respond to security chgallenges.

Ø      This means we have to have the right set of capabilities ti respond, the right mix of conventional and nuclear weapons, disarmament, arms control and nonprolifeartion. All of these increase NATO´s abiliy to protect our shared community of values.

Ø      To keep Art 5 strong, the Strategic Concept must include a firm commitment to enchance deterrence through contingency planning, military exercises, force development, early warning and political solidarity.

Ø      Taking on new tasks and missions that may require substantial resources must not and will not undermine NATO´s ability to defend its members, as long as Art 5 remains credible – that means Allies must devote resources, training, and attention to maintaining NATO´s capacity to act and deter.

Ø      In this respect, consultation (Art 4) is almost important as Art 5, both for its political value and reassurance.

Ø      Art 4 consultation shows the Alliance´s involvement in evolving situation, wich can deter further aggression, de-escalate situation, demonstrate NATO´s resolve, and help to prevent or manage crises.

Ø      Art 4 may be even more important today and in future than in past due to non-mil nature of new threats (cyber, energy, WMD): it provides a way to address threats without going to the level of Art 5.

Cooperative security is NATO´s second task: NATO further enchances the security of this community of values by engaging cooperatively with others, making cooperative security NATO´s second core task.

§         Outreach enchances Allies security and increases  stability for Euro-Atlantic region.

§         NATO has responsibility to promote partnerships to derive mutual benefit in areas of mutual interest

§         As GoE has report points out, NATO is a regional organisation in a globalized world; it has to be able to respond to threats beyond its borders. NATO is not a global Alliance but it must be able to protect Allies against global threats; it must be prepared to act globally against globalized threats.

§         Enlargement has been a sopurce for coop security in Europe; Russia´s and Europe´s borders are more secure as a result of NATO´s open door policy

§         Partnership serves four main purposes, all of wich enchance trans-Atlantic security and stability:

(1)   prepare interested countries for membership (BiH, Macedonia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Kosovo)

(2)   Participate in NATO operations

(3)   Secure the neigborhood

(4)   Build capacity/interoperability: training missions, Comp App (UN, EU, AU), RU

To conclude, the Security Concept is an important part of NATO´s effort to revitalize the Alliance, to reform its structures and identify key capabilities NATO will need to be able to respond to new / emerging  security challenges.

More fundamentally, it is an opportunity to restate what NATO is all about: nations committing to protect shared values and interests through collective defense and cooperative security. Our willingness to do this is at the heart of Euro-Atlantic peace, stability and prosperity.




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