The conference precedes the Lisbon Summit on 19 and 20 November, when Heads of State and Government will approve a new Strategic Concept to set the Alliance’s direction for the coming decade and beyond.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen opened the conference, stressing both capability and reform issues. He asked for strong collaboration of National Armaments Directors to foster the multinational acquisition process and find concrete areas for cooperation with the European Union.
Multinational efforts key to defence capabilities
Armaments Directors discussed a way forward for the capability package, which aims to ensure that the most pressing capabilities for the Alliance are delivered in a timely manner at an affordable price. They emphasized that the challenge ahead is to develop more interoperable capabilities for operations, while preserving and strengthening common capabilities through multinational efforts.
The Secretary General said that “…we can deliver more and better through a combination of collective approaches and multinational solutions.” This view was echoed by NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment and CNAD Permanent Chairman Patrick Auroy, who stressed that, “…collective solutions offer many advantages and can deliver real value for money.”
Conference participants looked at progress achieved so far in the Alliance Ground Surveillance programme, as well as the potential expansion of NATO’s theatre missile defence programme to provide protection for Alliance territory and population centres.
Priority areas for multinational armaments cooperation, in particular the importance of multinational defence acquisition and collective solutions also featured on the agenda.
Armaments Directors welcomed ongoing developments in both Europe and the United States to improve the legislative and procedural basis for technological and industrial cooperation. They called for further simplification of the processes of defence technology cooperation between countries.
Enhancing NATO-EU cooperation
Work is ongoing to identify pragmatic approaches to NATO-EU cooperation in areas such as countering improvised explosive devices (C-IEDs) and medical support. To boost cooperation, Armament Directors called for increased exchange of information between both organizations and harmonisation of capability development processes.
At the event, an amendment to the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System Memorandum of Understanding was signed to increase interoperability and delivery of a coherent capability.
The CNAD is NATO’s principal decision-making body working to identify opportunities for research, development and production of military equipment and weapons systems.