The primary work of DSE is directed to supporting NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan and to providing assessments on international economic security in a world where the balance of international economic power is changing. In this regard, DSE has developed various important initiatives in support of NATO ISAF and Afghanistan.
Firstly, DSE has significantly contributed to the development of the NATO Afghan First Policy that seeks to reduce the risk of corruption in the contracting for goods and services in support of economic development and security in Afghanistan.
Secondly, DSE, in partnership with international organisations and NGOs, is engaged in building the capacity of the government of Afghanistan to reduce corruption in defence and security establishments in Afghanistan. This includes the application of Building Integrity tools (a NATO initiative first developed in 2007) to support NATO ISAF in developing anti-corruption training for the Afghan National Army and the national Police.
Thirdly, DSE interacts with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in assessing those economic and financial issues that are critical to Afghanistan’s medium- and long-term economic development and security.
International economic security
The challenges confronting the Alliance in the wake of the global economic recession in 2008 have been felt in the pressure imposed on national defence budgets at a time of economic and fiscal austerity. In an increasingly complex financial and economic world, international economic collaboration is a fundamental condition for stability and security, together with measures to ensure that NATO members continue to devote the necessary budgetary resources to defence and security capabilities.
DSE organises workshops and interacts with other divisions within the International Staff (the Emerging Security Challenges and the Defence Policy and Planning Divisions) in focusing upon the affordability and sustainability of defence spending within the Alliance set against the backcloth of the changing distribution of international economic power.
Increasingly, budgetary and financial constraints make it essential that Allies implement “Smart Defence” arrangements, as proposed and emphasised by NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
In coordination with other entities within the International Staff, DSE contributes to the monitoring and assessment of the economic performance of partners in the framework of their Annual national Plans and Membership Action Plans.
Additionally, discussions with partners can focus on assessing developments in economic security, as well as supporting their efforts to manage the socio-economic consequences of defence sector restructuring and downsizing (in support of vital defence reform and defence conversion) and to promote better management of scarce defence and security sector financial resources.
DSE retains access to a network of defence economic experts from Allied capitals who previously contributed to the analytical work of the Economic Committee. With the reform of NATO intelligence structures and processes, DSE remains able to support this work with contributions on economic intelligence.