This is the vision for NATO 2020 that NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen presented at the seventh annual Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund on 23 March 2012 .
Addressing more than 200 of the most influential North American and European political, corporate and intellectual leaders, Mr. Rasmussen reaffirmed NATO’s undiminished relevance to world security: ‘it has played a major role in guaranteeing peace in the Euro-Atlantic area for over sixty years’ he recalled, ‘ and as our mission for Libya showed, our Alliance remains an essential source of stability in an unpredictable world. NATO is the indispensable Alliance’.
NATO is based upon a shared purpose that needs to be preserved in challenging times, despite the financial crisis and declining defence budgets. ‘Every cut today will have consequences for our security tomorrow. And for what we are able to do as an Alliance ', Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed.
Spending defence money in a smarter way, through prioritisation, specialisation and cooperation, focusing ‘not just on what we cut, but on what we keep’ is the backbone to the shared responsibility concept. By building on past and current operational experiences and skills, the Connected Forces Initiative will also help consolidate Allies and Partners’ high interoperability level. ‘In Afghanistan, American, European and partner nations have developed an outstanding ability to operate alongside each other’, the Secretary General pointed out, stressing, ‘ We need to keep those gains’. Looking back at operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and for Libya, he expressed confidence in Europe and North America’s ability to share leadership: ‘ This shows how different Allies can lead dif f erent operations. And that is why I am confident that European nations can share the leadership role within the Atlantic community’.
That task can only be successful if anchored strongly in the unique security partnership network that NATO has been developing over the last years: ‘ By working together with our partners, we enhance our own security. We enhance the security of their regions, And of the security of the world we live in’.