General Klaus Naumann, Former Chair, NATO Military Committee

We’re 10 years on from the last Strategic Concept. What were the factors in play when 1999’s version was drawn up – and how did it differ from today?

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What's changed since 1999

We’re 10 years on from the last Strategic Concept. What were the factors in play when 1999’s version was drawn up – and how did it differ from today?

We did not have the advantage

of a Group of Experts back in 1999.

We had to formulate it

inside the building

and I remember very well that it was

a process which was painstaking

and occasionally divisive.

One of the reasons why we left…

...some issues a little bit vague is

that we were aware

of the divisiveness.

So, for instance, the issue of nuclear

weapons remained more or less

on the same status as before.

I see with growing concern

that many NATO nations are

preparing

through their armaments

programmes for yesterday’s war

while spending tomorrow’s money,

that's something we need to change.

What matters in the future is first

and foremost information superiority

and there we are

not too well developed in NATO.

Secondly, we have

to prepare for cyber operations.

And there I think NATO is

just at the beginning

of thinking

this cyber dimension through.

Third… I’m afraid

we have to take into account

more than we do

at this point in time,

that proliferation of weapons

of mass destruction may take place

and whether we are

adequately prepared and equipped

for instance for CRBN,

the defence against chemical,

biological and nuclear weapons,

I’m not entirely sure.

The capabilities gap is, I think,

is number two on my list of priorities,

number one is the political will.

And if we do not get

our acts together as Europeans

and speak with one voice

and try to find common views

with our American partners,

then you can forget

about the capabilities issues.

Well that is of course

the hottest potato in the pot.

At this point in time, we still have

the rather cumbersome process

that all NATO nations

can take the decision,

but not only in the Council

but at all levels below the Council.

My former colleagues and I proposed

that the consensus-based

decision-making should be preserved

but only at the Council level.

In all levels below it should be

a majority decision-making.

That would speed up the process.

In crisis management

time is of the essence

and to move up the ladder

of decision-making escalation

as we do it right now in NATO,

at 28, that will never allow us

to be there on time.

It seems to me that

the new American administration,

president Obama,

really has taken some steps

in the direction of the Europeans.

But, if I may say so as a European,

he has not been rewarded

by the Europeans through increased

commitments to the common cause.

And for that reason, if we Europeans

do not get our acts together,

particularly on Afghanistan,

then we may soon end up

with growing frustration

on the side of the Americans...

I think we... One of the lessons

learned in all alliance actions is

that the alliance has to be

of benefit for all partners.

So Europe cannot be

a consumer of security,

we have, together with the United

States, to be producers of security.

I believe the core of the issue is:

What means collective defence

in the future?

That is what the new allies expect.

The new allies joined the alliance

because they wanted to help

American commitment to Europe.

And… against the background

of a more assertive Russia,

which pretends to be strong

although it isn’t strong at all,

they want to have

the assurance that the old formula

one for all and all for one

is still valid.

In my conviction, collective defence

and the article 5 guarantee,

is the very basis

for the preparedness of nations

to engage

beyond the NATO Treaty area.

Since if nations are not able to tell

their nations you are protected,

you will never win

the support of people

to send their forces

in to harm’s way elsewhere.

I think we have to find convincing

formulas, also in the new Concept,

which tell our public

there is a need to invest in security.

Of course, in a balanced way,

but that I think is one of the main

tasks of the new Strategic Concept,

to tell the NATO success story

to the people,

and to tell them

that we have to continue

to stick to the Transatlantic Alliance,

since there is no security for Europe

without the United States,

and the United States of America

need Europe as a partner.

We did not have the advantage

of a Group of Experts back in 1999.

We had to formulate it

inside the building

and I remember very well that it was

a process which was painstaking

and occasionally divisive.

One of the reasons why we left…

...some issues a little bit vague is

that we were aware

of the divisiveness.

So, for instance, the issue of nuclear

weapons remained more or less

on the same status as before.

I see with growing concern

that many NATO nations are

preparing

through their armaments

programmes for yesterday’s war

while spending tomorrow’s money,

that's something we need to change.

What matters in the future is first

and foremost information superiority

and there we are

not too well developed in NATO.

Secondly, we have

to prepare for cyber operations.

And there I think NATO is

just at the beginning

of thinking

this cyber dimension through.

Third… I’m afraid

we have to take into account

more than we do

at this point in time,

that proliferation of weapons

of mass destruction may take place

and whether we are

adequately prepared and equipped

for instance for CRBN,

the defence against chemical,

biological and nuclear weapons,

I’m not entirely sure.

The capabilities gap is, I think,

is number two on my list of priorities,

number one is the political will.

And if we do not get

our acts together as Europeans

and speak with one voice

and try to find common views

with our American partners,

then you can forget

about the capabilities issues.

Well that is of course

the hottest potato in the pot.

At this point in time, we still have

the rather cumbersome process

that all NATO nations

can take the decision,

but not only in the Council

but at all levels below the Council.

My former colleagues and I proposed

that the consensus-based

decision-making should be preserved

but only at the Council level.

In all levels below it should be

a majority decision-making.

That would speed up the process.

In crisis management

time is of the essence

and to move up the ladder

of decision-making escalation

as we do it right now in NATO,

at 28, that will never allow us

to be there on time.

It seems to me that

the new American administration,

president Obama,

really has taken some steps

in the direction of the Europeans.

But, if I may say so as a European,

he has not been rewarded

by the Europeans through increased

commitments to the common cause.

And for that reason, if we Europeans

do not get our acts together,

particularly on Afghanistan,

then we may soon end up

with growing frustration

on the side of the Americans...

I think we... One of the lessons

learned in all alliance actions is

that the alliance has to be

of benefit for all partners.

So Europe cannot be

a consumer of security,

we have, together with the United

States, to be producers of security.

I believe the core of the issue is:

What means collective defence

in the future?

That is what the new allies expect.

The new allies joined the alliance

because they wanted to help

American commitment to Europe.

And… against the background

of a more assertive Russia,

which pretends to be strong

although it isn’t strong at all,

they want to have

the assurance that the old formula

one for all and all for one

is still valid.

In my conviction, collective defence

and the article 5 guarantee,

is the very basis

for the preparedness of nations

to engage

beyond the NATO Treaty area.

Since if nations are not able to tell

their nations you are protected,

you will never win

the support of people

to send their forces

in to harm’s way elsewhere.

I think we have to find convincing

formulas, also in the new Concept,

which tell our public

there is a need to invest in security.

Of course, in a balanced way,

but that I think is one of the main

tasks of the new Strategic Concept,

to tell the NATO success story

to the people,

and to tell them

that we have to continue

to stick to the Transatlantic Alliance,

since there is no security for Europe

without the United States,

and the United States of America

need Europe as a partner.

Videos in What's changed since 1999:

1. History: what shaped the strategic concept?

2. General Klaus Naumann, Former Chair, NATO Military Committee

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